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frustration of purpose

n. sometimes called commercial frustration, when unexpected events arise which make a contract impossible to be performed, entitling the frustrated party to rescind the contract without paying damages. Example: Jack Appleseller contracts to buy a commercial building to rent out, and, while the sale is pending, the building is condemned by the city as unsafe for any use. Mr. Appleseller can back out of the purchase without obligation.

See also: commercial frustration 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications