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Court-Ordered Specific Performance

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What’s specific performance, and when can a court order it?

Boxer Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddy Roach, was so sure that Pacquiao’s opponent Juan Manuel Marquez was taking performance enhancing drugs, he told a magazine that “if his body is natural, I will kiss his” behind. Marquez tested clean.

When R&B singer Ryan Leslie offered a million dollars for the return of his laptop recently, a judge said that he did, in fact, owe a million dollars plus interest to the man who returned it since the offer was made, and accepted.

So, should Roach put on some lip balm and start puckering? No.

Even if Roach’s less than appealing offer were considered an actual contract, a court will, in general, only award money to an aggrieved party. The only time a court will actually force a defendant to act in a certain way – a remedy called specific performance – is where money can’t put the winner in as good a position as he would have been had the contract been fully performed. So if you offer your house for sale, and then reneg, a court can force you actually to sell the property since it’s considered unique.

Marquez, who would be suing for damage to his reputation, can likely be made whole by some moolah in his back pocket, rather than by a pair of lips on them.

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