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Civil Resource Manual

219. Specific Performance

The United States may obtain specific performance. See, e.g., Bastian v. United States, 118 F.2d 777 (6th Cir. 1941), enforcing a contract to purchase land notwithstanding the available legal remedy of eminent domain. See also United States v. Harrison County, Miss., 399 F.2d 485 (5th Cir. 1968), rehearing denied, 414 F.2d 784 (1969), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 918 (1970), granting specific performance of a contract to insure maintenance of a beach as a public beach. In contrast, specific performance does not lie against the United states. United States v Jones, 131 U.S. 1 (1889). Other actions for specific relief against the United States have also been denied without a waiver of sovereign immunity. Identification Devices, Inc. v United States, 121 F.2d 895 (D.C. Cir.), cert denied, 314 U.S. 615 (1941) (injunction); Clay v. United States, 210 F.2d 686 (D.C. Cir. 1953), cert. denied, 347 U.S. 927 (1954) (action to void assignment of patents to United States); Leather v. United States, 61 Ct. Cl. 388 (1925), cert. denied, 271 U.S. 660 (1926) (derivative stockholders' action to set aside corporate conveyance to United Sates denied); Blanc v. United States, 244 F.2d 708 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 355 U.S. 874 (1957) (equitable relief to compel reversal of denial of compensation benefits). See also, Coggeshall Dev. Corp. v. Diamond, 884 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1989) (citing Florida Dept of State v. Treasure Salvors, Inc., 458 U.S. 670, 689 (1982).