Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Callano v. Oakwood Park Homes Corp. case brief


Callano v. Oakwood Park Homes Corp. case brief

FACTS

Bruce Pendergast bought a home from Oakwood Park Holmes Inc. The house was erected. Soon after Pendergast contracted with a nursery (Callano) to put shrubs in he is front yard for a price of 497.95. Before Pendergast signed the contract for his home, he passed away and the flowers were already planted. A representative of Oakwood was aware of the planting. Soon after the contract was voided and the home was later sold to someone else, price was undisclosed.
(Defendant appeals from judgment of $475 entered in favor of Pl. in County District Court)

ISSUE
Is Oakwood obligated to pay PLs for the reasonable value of the shubbery on the theory of quasi-contractual liability?

ARGUMENTS
[Pl]: Def was unjustly enriched when the Pendergast contract to purchase the property was cancelled and that an agreement to pay for the shrubbery is implied in law.

[Def]: The facts of the case do not support a recovery by Pl.s on the theory of quasi-contract.

RULES
-Contracts applied by law (quasi/constructive contracts) are a class of obligations which are imposed or created by law without regard to the assent of the party bound, on the ground that they are dictated by reason and justice. (legal fiction/no agreement)
-Obligation arises not from consent, but from the law or natural equity.
-In cases based on quasi-contract liability, the intention of the parties is entirely disregarded, the duty defines the contract. 

ANALYSISTo recover on the theory of quasi-contract, the plaintiffs must prove that Def. was enriched, and that retention of the benefit without the payment therefore would be unjust.
-Quasi contract cases involve either some direct relationship between the parties or a mistake on the part of the person conferring the benefit.
(no mistake on the part of the plaintiffs is involved)
-A plaintiff is not entitled to employ the legal fiction of quasi-contract to “substitute one promisor or debtor for another.”

CONCLUSION
-Plaintiff’s may bring their action against Pendergast’s estate. (Quasi-contract theory developed under the law to provide a remedy where none existed - one exists in this case.)
-Defendant not unjustly enriched and is not liable for the value of the shrubbery.
Reversed.

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