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Tristram’s Landing, Inc. v. Wait

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
327 N.E.2d 727 (Mass. 1975)


Facts

Wait (defendant) owned property on Nantucket Island that she wanted to sell. Van der Wolk (plaintiff), a broker, requested and received permission to show the property. Wait knew that brokers in the area typically received a five percent commission, but did not discuss a commission with Van der Wolk. Van der Wolk eventually located a buyer for the property, Linda Cashman. Cashman signed a purchase and sale agreement to buy the property for $105,000, and made a down payment of $10,500. The purchase and sale agreement included a provision that Van der Wolk would earn a five percent commission on the sale. Cashman later refused to complete the purchase. Wait kept the down payment, and Van der Wolk sent her a bill for $5250, representing a five percent commission. Wait refused to pay, arguing that she was not obligated to pay a commission because the sale was never completed. Van der Wolk brought suit to recover $5250, and prevailed at the trial court. Wait appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Tauro, 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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