James B. Laurin and another person (buyers) (plaintiffs) signed a contract to buy a wooded property from DeCarolis Construction Company, Inc. (seller) (defendant). Before title passed from the seller to the buyers, and against the buyers' expressed opposition, the seller cut down most of the trees and removed and sold much of the property's gravel, thereby diminishing the property's value. The buyers successfully sued the seller. The trial court awarded the buyers damages that reflected both the property's diminished value and the fair market value of the gravel after the seller removed it from the property. The seller appealed. The appellate court reversed, ruling that the buyers were entitled to recover for the property's diminished value but not for the gravel's fair market value. The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court for a recalculation of the damages award. The buyers appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which considered only the issue of damages.