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Dover Pool & Racquet Club, Inc. v. Brooking

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
322 N.E.2d 168 (1975)


Facts

On January 31, 1972, Dover Pool & Racquet Club, Inc. (Dover Pool) (plaintiff) signed a contract with G. Edward Brooking and Ruth Brooking (defendants) and paid a deposit to purchase 50 acres of land in Dover, Massachusetts and Medford, Massachusetts to use as a nonprofit tennis and swim club. Shortly thereafter, Dover Pool sought to rescind the contract and have its deposit returned in light of a proposed amendment to Medford’s zoning by-laws. If passed, the amendment would require Dover Pool to apply for a special permit to use the land as envisioned, and the amendment would apply retroactively to cover the contract. Once Dover Pool learned of the amendment, Dover Pool informed the Brookings that it would refuse to proceed with the March 1, 1972, closing. On March 21, 1972, Medford adopted the amendment, which Massachusetts approved a few months later in July. Finding a mutual mistake of fact, the superior court granted Dover Pool’s request to rescind the contract and ordered the Brookings to return the deposit. The Brookings appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Braucher, J.)

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