This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The original test for the power of equity to grant relief in any class of cases was the absence of a plain, adequate and complete remedy at law. This principle applies with especial force to suits for specific performance of a contract. If the remedy at law in the shape of an action for money damages is plain, adequate and complete, specific performance will be denied, no matter if the contract in question possess all the other elements requisite to such relief.1 Hence if payments are made on an overdue note under a contract to apply them on such note, equity will not enforce the application of such payments.2 So the mere fact of payment of the consideration in advance,3 such as payment of rent in advance,4 is not ground for this form of equitable relief, as the law gives an adequate remedy. Conversely, if the remedy at law is not plain, adequate and complete, specific performance will be granted if the contract possesses the remaining elements already discussed,5 which make such remedy appropriate.6
2 Williamson v. Dils, - Ky. -; 72 S. W. 292.
3 Booth v. Burdock, - Mich. -; 94 N. W. 177.
4 Booth v. Burdock, - Mich. -; 94 N. W. 177.
5 Willard v. Tayloe, 8 Wall. (U. S:) 557.
1 Raton Water Works Co. v. .Raton, 174 U. S. 360; Hyer v. Traction Co., 168 U. S. 471; Union Pacific Ry. Co. v. Ry., 163 U. S. 564; American Fisheries Co. v. Lennen, 118 Fed. 869; Andrew v. Babeock, 63 Conn. 109; 26 Atl. 715; Canal Commissioners v. Chicago, 191 111. 326; 61 N. E. 71; Hull v. Hull, 117 la. 63; 90 N. W. 496; Maryland Clay Co. v. Simpers, 96 Md. 1; 53 Atl. 424: Northern Trust Co. v. Markell,