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Equity will not ordinarily order specific performance where the duty to be enforced continues over a long period of time and is difficult of supervision. However, the modern tendency is to grant specific performance in the case of a clear breach, where the difficulties of enforcement are not great, particularly when compared with the inadequacy of damages at law.
Under the terms of a commercial lease with plaintiff lessor, defendant lessee was to open and operate a bakery on the leased premises while paying plaintiff a minimum rent plus a percentage of the sales. Plaintiff filed an action in equity, seeking an injunction and specific performance of the lease, after defendant closed the bakery and began paying only the minimum rent. Defendant sought review of the lower court's decision after it granted the relief sought by plaintiff claiming, among other things, that the lower court erred in not admitting parol evidence to prove his claim of fraud.
Under the circumstances, was the plaintiff entitled to the relief sought for, notwithstanding the parol evidence offered by the defendant?
Although the court recognized that parol evidence was admissible to prove a charge of fraud, the court affirmed the lower court's decision because defendant's claim of fraud was barred by his laches and the proffered evidence could not support his claim because the alleged representations were promises to do things in the future and, therefore, they were inadmissible. The court also held that the mandatory injunction was appropriate because the difficulty of enforcement, through supervision, did not outweigh the importance of granting specific performance given the inadequacy of money damages.