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Chomicky v. Buttolph

Vermont Supreme Court
513 A.2d 1174 (1986)


Buttolph (defendant) owned lakeside property. Buttolph desired to sell a portion of the property, while retaining the remaining portion of the property that provided lake access. Chomicky (plaintiff) entered into negotiations to purchase Buttolph’s property. Chomicky and Buttolph reached agreement and signed a purchase and sale contract in August 1985. The contract, however, was made contingent on Buttolph’s ability to obtain a subdivision permit from the Leicester Planning Commission (Commission). On October 1, 1985, Chomicky proposed an alternate arrangement that would permit Buttolph to go through with the sale even if the Commission denied his application for the subdivision permit. Chomicky suggested Buttolph sell the entire property while retaining an easement specifically granting Buttolph lake access. Buttolph orally agreed to this arrangement. On October 12, 1985, the Commission met and denied Buttolph’s application for a subdivision permit. On October 13th, Buttolph telephoned Chomicky and informed him that “the deal was off.” Buttolph now wanted to sell the whole parcel or nothing. Chomicky brought suit in Vermont state court against Buttolph alleging breach of contract and seeking specific performance. The trial court awarded specific performance of the oral sale of property to Chomicky, and Buttolph appealed.

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