Baseball Pub. Co. v. Bruton

302 Mass. 54, 18 N.E.2d 362 (1938)



A license merely excuses acts done by one on land in possession of another that without the license would be trespasses, conveys no interest in land, and may be contracted for or given orally.


Plaintiff was engaged in the business of controlling locations for billboards and signs and contracting with advertisers for the exhibition of their placards and posters. Defendant gave plaintiff a writing signed but not sealed by defendant whereby for consideration defendant agreed to give plaintiff the exclusive right to maintain a sign on a building owned by defendant. It was provided that all signs placed on the premises remained the personal property of plaintiff. The writing was headed as a lease. Plaintiff accepted by sending defendant a check in the amount of the agreed consideration. Defendant returned the check. Plaintiff erected the contemplated sign. Defendant caused the sign to be removed. Plaintiff brought a bill for specific performance, contending the writing was a lease. The trial judge entered a final decree for specific performance for plaintiff. The supreme judicial court affirmed holding an easement in equity was created.


Was the right given to plaintiff a mere license?




The trial court did not err in awarding specific performance even though the agreement was not under seal because equity created an easement on the part of plaintiff. The writing in the present case, however, seems to us to go beyond a mere license. It purports to give "the exclusive right and privilege to maintain" a certain sign on the defendant's wall. So far as the law permits, it should be so construed as to vest in the plaintiff the the right which it purports to give.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.