Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Carroll v. Bowersock case brief

Carroll v. Bowersock case brief summary
164 P. 143 (Kan. 1917)

Defendant sought review of an order of the Douglas District Court (Kansas).
judgment was entered in favor of (P) for breach of contract where (P) partially constructed a concrete floor in a building which burned before floor completion.

(P) was hired by (D)t to build a concrete floor in defendant's building.
Before full completion of the floor, the building had burned.
(P) could not complete the contract as defendant did not rebuild the building and (P) sought reimbursement for materials and labor expended.
The trial court ruled in favor of the (P) permitting substantial recovery for the work performed by the (P).


  • The reviewing court reversed and remanded ruling that the burning of the building created an impossibility of performance. 
  • Since impossibility of performance was not contemplated nor was it caused by either party, neither party could be held responsible for nonperformance. 
  • However, (P) was entitled to damages in an amount equal to the benefit (D) received prior to destruction of the building, that benefit was measured by the amount of the contract work which was done which had become identified with the building. 
  • Reimbursement to plaintiff was necessary to avoid defendant's unjust enrichment from plaintiff's labors.
Where the (P) partially completed flooring before destruction of (D's) building, the court reversed and remanded holding where impossibility of performance was neither caused or contemplated by the parties, (P) was entitled to damages for the value of the benefit inuring to (D) prior to the building's destruction.

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