Ian Woodner, Appellant, v. Julius Sankin Andjoseph A. Garfield, Appellees, 289 F.2d 873 (D.C. Cir. 1961)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit - 289 F.2d 873 (D.C. Cir. 1961) Argued April 3, 1961
Decided May 4, 1961

Mr. James M. Earnest, Washington, D. C., with whom Mr. James D. Newton, Washington, D. C., was on the brief, for appellant.

Mr. Arthur M. Chaite, Washington, D. C., for appellees.

Before PRETTYMAN, WASHINGTON and BURGER, Circuit Judges.


Appellant brought suit for a declaratory judgment that he was entitled to recover a deposit paid to appellees toward the purchase of real estate. The District Court sat without a jury. After hearing plaintiff's evidence, the court found that the contract provisions entitling appellees to retain the deposit upon appellant's failure to complete the transaction did not constitute a penalty, and dismissed the complaint. We find no reversible error. Plaintiff-appellant did not make a prima facie case that the contract provision was unreasonable or unconscionable, or that any other ground existed for the grant of relief. While we reach the merits of the claim in the interests of avoiding circuity of action, we express no opinion as to whether, or if so under what conditions, a suit for a declaratory judgment is an appropriate remedy in controversies of the present sort.