Friday, December 27, 2013

Interform Co. v. Mitchell case brief

Interform Co. v. Mitchell case brief summary
575 F.2d 1270 (1978)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Following a bench trial, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho held that the parties entered into a rental contract for concrete-molding forms' use in appellant's first construction job; determining forms' use in second job unjustly enriched appellant, trial judge awarded appellee money damages for fair rental value but not attorney fees.

CASE FACTS
Appellant contended appellee company sold concrete-molding forms, but appellee argued payment was for rental. The district court found that the parties entered rental contract for forms' use in first construction job. The determining the forms' use in the second job unjustly enriched appellant, the trial court awarded appellee money damages for fair rental value but not attorney fees.

DISCUSSION

  • Finding the trial court acted within both the spirit and letter of Idaho law by admitting evidence extrinsic to purchase orders to determine whether transaction was a sale or lease, the court affirmed in all respects except attorney fees. 
  • Under Idaho Code § 28-2-202, the purchase orders were not intended as final expression of the parties' agreement. 
  • The parties' intent was not solely determined by what a reasonably intelligent person would have understood such intent to be after examining purchase orders only. 
  • Since appellee was entitled to sue on payment bond under § 54-1927, the court reversed and remanded to determine attorney fees under § 54-1929.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment for appellee, holding that the district court correctly admitted extrinsic evidence to determine whether transaction was a sale or lease because the purchase orders were not intended as final expression of parties' agreement; since the state statute authorized appellee's suit on payment bond, the court reversed and remanded to determine attorney fees.

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