Skip to main content



Board of Education of The Township of Lawrence v. County of Mercer

A-659-98T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1999) (Unpublished)

CONTRACTS; SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE—A buyer that is substantially unable to perform its obligations under a contract cannot obtain a decree for specific performance.

A local board of education contracted to purchase a portion of a large tract of land owned by the County. The contract included a provision that the Board would grant an easement to allow the County to use facilities to be built on the purchased tract. The Board also agreed to construct athletic facilities on the County’s remaining lands. The Board’s obligation regarding the facilities and other improvements was delivery of the Deed transferring title. “Undisputed evidence in the records suggest[ed] the availability of those facilities and extensions would occur within a reasonable time as it took to construct them and the new school.” After the municipality’s voters rejected a funding referendum, the Board “acknowledged it had no current plans to resubmit the funding issue to the voters.” The County then refused to execute the contract and the Board took the position “it was entitled to execution of the contract and to hold the land until it finalized plans for the land use, whenever that might be.” The lower court refused to grant specific performance to the Board. The Appellate Division agreed, stating that “[a] party who is substantially unable to perform its obligations under a contract cannot obtain a decree for specific performance.” The Court believed that there was “no prospect, in a reasonably temporal sense, of the County having the facilities and extensions available because the Board has no plans to seek the necessary funding.”


MEISLIK & MEISLIK
66 Park Street • Montclair, New Jersey 07042
tel: 973-783-3000 • fax: 973-744-5757 • info@meislik.com