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Schrenko v. Regnante

Massachusetts Court of Appeals
537 N.E.2d 1261 (1989)


Michael and Joanna Schrenko (plaintiffs) contracted to buy a house from James and Jean Mazareas (defendants) for $360,000. Pursuant to the purchase agreement, the Schrenkos paid a $16,000 deposit. The contract stated that if the Schrenkos breached the agreement, then the Mazareas could choose to keep the deposit as liquidated damages if the Mazareas wanted to do so. Ultimately, the Schrenkos did not go through with the purchase. A week later, the Mazareas sold the house to someone else for $385,000. After that, the Mazareas’ attorneys, Theodore Regnante and other members of his law firm (defendants), sent the Schrenkos a letter saying that the Mazareas were both keeping the deposit as liquidated damages and possibly seeking further damages resulting from the Schrenkos’ breach. The Schrenkos sued the Mazareas and the lawyers to recover the deposit. The Mazareas claimed nearly $19,000 in damages from the Schrenkos’ breach. This damage estimate ignored the fact the Mazareas made an extra $25,000 from the later, substitute sale of the house. The trial court did not consider anything that happened after the Schrenkos’ breach and ruled in favor of the Mazareas and the lawyers. The Schrenkos appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fine, J.)

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