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Hancock Bank & Trust Co. v. Shell Oil Co.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
309 N.E.2d 482 (1974)


Facts

Shell Oil Co. (Shell) (defendant) entered into a written lease in 1962 for a term of fifteen years. The lease provided an option for Shell to extend the lease for another fifteen years, and gave Shell the option of terminating the lease at any time by giving the lessor ninety days’ notice. Hancock Bank & Trust Co. (Hancock) (plaintiff) later acquired the premises which Shell was leasing through a public auction after foreclosure proceedings against the original lessor. At this time, Hancock sought to void the original lease with Shell on the ground that its terms were so unfair for Hancock as to violate public policy. Hancock brought suit in Massachusetts state court, and the trial court upheld the lease. Hancock appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Quirico, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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