Cadwallader v. Mason

From Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Cadwallader v. Mason, Wythe 188 (1793),[1] is a very brief opinion discussing whether a person who defaults on a mortgage is liable for the profits they made on the land after the default.


The mortgager[2] (the person who borrowed money, using the title to land as collateral) defaulted on a loan, but refused to turn over the land to the mortgagee (the lender) as the borrower should have. Wythe hypothesizes that the borrower defaulted because they owed more on the mortgage than the land was worth. The borrower argued that the lender did not try to hold the borrower accountable, but Wythe stated that the lender had made several attempts in court to regain possession the land and claim the profits the borrower made of the land since the default,[3] but was denied each time.

The Court's Decision

Wythe stated that the borrower must reimburse the lender for the profits the borrower made off the land after the borrower defaulted. Justice demands that the lender be given the profits the lender would have received if not for the borrower's "industrious procrastination". Wythe added that it offends the principles of justice to allow the borrower to enrich himself at the lender's expense from land the borrower had no intention of keeping.


  1. George Wythe, Decisions of Cases in Virginia by the High Court of Chancery with Remarks upon Decrees by the Court of Appeals, Reversing Some of Those Decisions, 2nd ed., ed. B.B. Minor (Richmond: J.W. Randolph, 1852): 188.
  2. Wythe does not say who the mortgager is or who was the lender in this case.
  3. Wythe does not say how the borrower got his profits.