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Baseball Publishing Co. v. Bruton

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
18 N.E.2d 362 (1938)



Baseball Publishing Company (BPC) (plaintiff) entered a contract with Bruton (defendant) to place an advertising sign on the wall of a building Bruton owned. The contract was titled “Lease No. ____.” It gave BPC the exclusive right and privilege to advertise on Bruton’s building for one year, in exchange for $25. The contract also gave BPC an annual, renewable option for up to four years, for $25 per year. Bruton signed the contract, but did not seal it. BPC accepted the contract on November 10, 1934, by sending Bruton a check for $25. Bruton returned the check. BPC nonetheless erected and maintained a sign on the building and sent Bruton checks for $25 in November 1935 and November 1936. Bruton returned both checks and removed the sign on February 23, 1937. BPC sued for specific performance, claiming that the contract was a lease. The judge found that the contract was a license and ordered specific performance, damages, and costs. Bruton appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lummus, J.)

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