In a case of first impression, Newton Centre Realty, Inc. v. David R. Jaffe (June 23, 2020), the Appeals Court recently decided that the seller's death terminates a real estate listing agreement and concluded that the broker was not entitled to recover contract damages from the seller's estate.
In the recent Memorandum and Order issued in the case T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. The Town of Barnstable, the Massachusetts District Court held that the Town of Barnstable Planning Board ("the Planning Board") had violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ("the TCA") when it denied T-Mobile's request for a special permit and regulatory agreement that would allow T-Mobile to install and operate wireless equipment in a church steeple for the purpose of improving local cell phone service coverage. The dispute arose after the town had issued T-Mobile a building permit and after the majority of the construction on T-Mobile's proposed site had already been completed, at which time citizens of Barnstable claimed that the proposed site fell within a geographic area of Cape Cod that is subject to heightened regulatory scrutiny. After several hearings and consideration of evidence submitted by T-Mobile, the Planning Board denied T-Mobile's request.
In the recent case of Bliss v. Boston Clear Water Company, LLC (decided April 21, 2020), the Essex Land Court found that the plaintiff, Mary Bliss, had successfully proved a claim to ownership of property on the grounds of adverse possession because her family had been using the property adversely, openly, notoriously, exclusively, and continuously for a period spanning nearly thirty years. The Bliss family's use of the disputed land began in 1985 when Mary's husband, Gerald Bliss, started tending to the grounds of property that was owned at the time by his next-door neighbor. Specifically, the Bliss family paved a portion of the neighboring land, installed a fence around a well, constructed a pitcher's mound and a hockey net, and even went so far as to hire a professional landscaping company to conduct routine maintenance on the land. In addition, the Bliss family parked their cars on the land and allowed their guests to park there, and the family's children played openly on the property.
In divorces, determining the value of real property (the marital home, for example) may become a key issue. While a seemingly simple concept, the term "value" may have several different meanings depending upon the context in which its used in litigation, and understanding the various methods of determining the "value" of real property is crucial.