Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Grenier v. Compratt Construction Co. case brief

Grenier v. Compratt Construction Co. case brief summary
454 A.2d 1289 (Conn. 1983)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant contractor appealed the decision of the Superior Court in the Judicial District of Danbury (Connecticut) which rendered judgment for plaintiff subcontractor on plaintiff's action to recover damages for an alleged breach of contract, and that denied defendant's counterclaim to enforce a liquidated damages clause of the contract.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiffs, subcontractors, brought an action to recover damages for an alleged breach of contract, and defendant contractor challenged the judgment in favor of plaintiffs, claiming that the trial court erred in applying a substantial performance test to plaintiffs' execution of their responsibility under the contract and in failing to enforce fully a provision for liquidated damages.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the judgment and held that there was no error. 
  • The trial court did not apply a substantial performance test, but instead had correctly concluded that plaintiffs' inability to procure a certain certification entirely excused plaintiffs from their duty to produce such certification. 
  • Given the initial inability and the subsequent obtainment of the certificates of occupancy, enforcement of the liquidated damages provision would have forfeited plaintiffs' right to payment which they had earned. 
  • Therefore, plaintiffs' recovery was not based on substantial performance, but full performance, and the delay between the stipulated date of performance and the actual date of performance was not so substantial as to have warranted a finding of breach of the contract as a whole.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment in favor of plaintiffs, subcontractors, to recover damages for an alleged breach of contract, as plaintiffs had fully performed their obligations, given that the limiting condition of obtaining certificates of occupancy had been excused, and any delay in performance was too insubstantial to warrant finding a breach of contract as a whole by plaintiffs.


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