Monday, November 25, 2013

Blakeley v. Gorin case brief

Blakeley v. Gorin case brief summary
313 N.E.2d 903 (Mass. 1974)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Respondent apartment building owners sought review of a decision from the Superior Court of Massachusetts declaring that certain restrictions on petitioner property owners' parcel of land were obsolete and unenforceable and concluding that respondents would have no rights to any damages.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner property owners filed suit seeking a determination and declaration that certain restrictions on their parcel of land were obsolete and unenforceable. After proper notice was give to other property owners, respondent apartment building owners opposed the petition contending petitioner's plan to build a 12-story hotel-apartment building violated the restrictions.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed the trial court's final decree which had held that respondents had no rights to any damages. 
  • The court held that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 184, § 30, which allowed for the removal of restrictions on petitioners' parcel, was constitutionally applied, as the evidence showed that the public interest would not be served by the enforcement of the restrictions. 
  • The court held that the restrictions would not be specifically enforced, as the properties and neighborhood had drastically changed and because the restrictions would impede reasonable use of the land. 
  • A balance of the equities and a consideration of public interest required that respondents accept money damages by way of enforcement of the restriction. 
  • The court remanded the cause to determine damages for loss of benefit in light and air.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the trial court's final decree concluding that respondent apartment building owners had no right to any damages. The court concluded that a statute allowing for removal of restrictions on petitioners' parcel of land was constitutional and held that the restrictions could not be specifically enforced. As such, the court remanded the cause to determine respondents' damages for loss of benefit of light and air.

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