Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 64-6444, in case of William H. Wilson v. King of Prussia Enterprises, Inc. and Martin W. Field.
Daniel L. Quinlan, Jr., with him Paul C. Vangrossi, for appellant.
Marvin Katz, with him Specter & Katz, for appellees.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen.
In this equity action, the plaintiff sought specific performance of a written contract to reconvey land. After hearing, the chancellor entered an adjudication and decree nisi, dismissing the action solely on the
ground of laches. The court en banc subsequently made the decree final. The plaintiff appeals.
The facts necessary to our decision, which are supported by the evidence and found by the chancellor to be true, may be summarized as follows:
In 1958, the plaintiff, William H. Wilson (Wilson) and his father acquired title to approximately 35 acres of land in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County. On August 2, 1960, plaintiff and the executors of his father's estate entered into a conditional written agreement of sale for the land to the defendant corporation, King of Prussia Enterprises, Inc.*fn1 In the same agreement and in part consideration thereof, the defendant corporation agreed to reconvey a small portion of the land (.885 acres) to the plaintiff on or before June 30, 1962, for $8000.
In this connection the contract had two pertinent and significant provisions: (1) "Settlement shall be made on or before June 30, 1962, said time to be the essence of this agreement, unless extended by mutual consent in writing endorsed hereon." (2) "Tender of an executed deed and purchase money are hereby waived."
After gaining title to the land in 1961, the corporate defendant applied for and obtained a re-zoning of the tract. This re-zoning made it impossible, under township ordinances to subdivide or reconvey a part thereof to Wilson without first having the subdivision plan approved by the board of township supervisors. In order to make performance of the agreement to reconvey the .885 acres legally possible, Wilson on May 9, 1962, submitted an application and plan of subdivision to the township ...