Robitaille v. Rubin

In Robitaille v. Rubin, 159 Vt. 152, 615 A.2d 1025 (1992), the plaintiffs sold a house to the defendants, but failed to comply with a provision of the applicable Act 250 permit requiring the sellers to show the permit, the approved plot plan, and the certification of compliance to the buyers. When the defendants refused to close the sale, the plaintiffs sued on the purchase and sales contract. The superior court awarded judgment for the defendants, ruling that the failure to comply with the permit condition gave the defendants the right to rescind the contract. In reversing the judgment, the Court noted that the Legislature had not created a rescission remedy for failure to comply with a permit condition, although it had created a rescission remedy for certain other violations of Act 250, and held that we would not adjudicate a remedy into existence where the Legislature had not created one. Robitaille, 159 Vt. at 154, 615 A.2d at 1025-26. The Court went on, however, to discuss an alternative theory on which defendants might prevail - illegal contract. Id. The Court held that the court could refuse to enforce the contract if the violation of the permit condition tainted the agreement or made its enforcement unfair. Robitaille, 159 Vt. at 154, 615 A.2d at 1026. Because there was no evidence on whether the sellers' failure to make the required disclosures made the enforcement of the contract unfair, we remanded for further proceedings. Id.