Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bennett v. Hayes case brief

Bennett v. Hayes case brief summary
53 Cal. App. 3d 700 (1975)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant repairman challenged a judgment from the Municipal Court for the Southern Judicial District of San Mateo County (California), in an action for breach of contract and recovery of an agreed price, where the trial court had ruled that allowing appellant to recover despite his failure to provide a written estimate would have circumvented the purposes of the Automotive Repair Act.

CASE FACTS
Appellant repairman challenged a judgment for respondent consumer on an action for breach of a written contract and for recovery of an agreed price. Respondent brought his car to appellant for maintenance and repair. He agreed to pay specified amounts for brake repair, a radio, and lubrication. Appellant was unsure of the exact price of all the parts involved, and he failed to give respondent a written estimate for this work. When the work was completed, appellant's bill for parts and labor was significantly higher than the amounts discussed. Respondent refused to pay, and appellant sued. The trial court concluded that allowing appellant to recover despite his failure to provide a written estimate would have circumvented the purposes of the Automotive Repair Act.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed. 
  • Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 9884.9(a) barred any recovery for the work performed because of appellant's failure to give respondent a written estimate prior to repairing respondent's car.
  • When appellant failed to give a written estimate and no precise oral estimate of the costs or extent of the repairs to be performed, he violated §9884.9, and rendered the contract unenforceable at law.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment from the trial court, which denied appellant repairman recovery on a contract because he failed to provide a written estimate for respondent's car repairs, because appellant had rendered the contract unenforceable at law when he violated the Automotive Repair Act.


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