George A. Conti, Jr., Jeannette, for appellant.
Robert E. Tucker, Feldstein, Bloom & Grinberg, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
This is an appeal from a final decree in equity by the court en banc dismissing exceptions to a decree nisi wherein the chancellor granted specific performance of an agreement for the sale of land.
The court en banc affirmed the chancellor's findings of fact including the following. Appellant Corsica Construction Company, Inc. [hereinafter Corsica] owned a plan of lots of Hempfield Township, Pennsylvania. On May 25, 1970, appellees, Alfred and Sally Snow, as buyers, and Ronald J. Miller as President of Corsica and Margaret E. Miller, his wife, as sellers, entered into an
agreement for the sale of a parcel of land designated "Lot No. 9" in the aforementioned plan of lots. At the real estate closing Ronald Miller informed appellees that Corsica also owned the parcel of land lying behind Lot No. 9. On July 27, 1970, an agreement for the sale of this parcel was signed by appellees and by Mr. Miller, again as President of Corsica.
Upon Corsica's refusal to convey the land which was the subject of the July 27th agreement, appellees instituted this suit in equity. Specific performance was decreed as requested. Thereupon Corsica appealed to this Court.
The first assignment of error is that the chancellor should have found the agreement to be unconscionable and inequitable and thus not the proper subject of an action for specific performance.
In a thorough discussion of the area of the law to which this objection is addressed this Court stated:
"Inadequacy of consideration is not ground for refusing to decree specific performance of a contract to convey real estate, unless there is evidence of fraud or unfairness in the transaction sufficient to make it inequitable to compel performance: Harris v. Tyson, 24 Pa. 347, 360; Graham v. Pancoast, 30 Pa. 89, 97; Cummings's App., 67 Pa. 404; Bowers v. Bennethum, 133 Pa. 306, 19 A. 624; Jackson's Est., 203 Pa. 33, 52 A. 125. 'Inadequacy of price, improvidence, surprise, and mere hardship, none of these, nor all combined, furnish an adequate reason for a judicial rescission of a contract. For such action something more is demanded, -- such as fraud, mistake or illegality.' Frey's Est., 223 Pa. 61, 65, 72 A. 317, 318. Although relief in equity is a matter of grace only and not of right, and rests in the ...