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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BAD FAITH IN AN EASEMENT AGREEMENT RESULTS IN EQUITABLE RELIEF AND SOME HARSH WORDS


By Paul F. Alphen, Esquire
I don’t know Superior Court Judge Richard E Welch III, but it appears that he either called one of the defendants, or counsel for one of the defendants, dumber than “the dullest first year law student” in a case pertaining to the grant of an easement in exchange for a promise to convey a parcel of land. Notwithstanding the execution of what the court referred to as “..to put it charitably, not a well drafted legal document”, and the granting of an easement by the plaintiffs followed by the construction of a retaining wall on the plaintiffs’ land, the plaintiffs never received the parcel of land from the defendants. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered that the retaining wall be removed, and in doing so started the decision off with these strong words:
“Even the dullest first year law student learns in the first year contracts class that one cannot legally obtain something of value in exchange for an empty promise. That same student also understands that a party to a contract must act in good faith and cannot intentionally undermine the value of the agreed upon bargain. One hopes that any ethical adult would understand these basic rules of fair dealing without attending a law school. Unfortunately, not all act in good faith. This is an example of bad faith dealing which constitutes a breach of contract….  After carefully considering all the credible evidence, it is rather easy to conclude that this case presents an example of a company utilizing bad faith when breaching a contract with one of its neighbors.Nicoli v. Gooby Indus. Corp., No. 2014-1216 B, 2016 WL 4607900, at 1 (Mass. Super. Sept. 2, 2016)
Ouch.
 
Paul F. Alphen, Esquire
Alphen& Santos, P.C.
Westford, MA

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