Tuesday, December 3, 2013

J.O. Hooker & Sons v. Roberts Cabinet Co. case brief

J.O. Hooker & Sons v. Roberts Cabinet Co. case brief summary
683 So. 2d 396 (1996)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellee subcontractor filed an action in the Rankin County (Mississippi) Circuit Court against appellant general contractor on the theory that general contractor wrongfully breached a subcontract agreement after subcontractor had already begun performance. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of subcontractor and awarded damages. General contractor initiated an appeal.

CASE FACTS
General contractor entered into a subcontract agreement with subcontractor, wherein subcontractor agreed to tear out old cabinets and install new cabinets, as part of general contractor's work on a public housing project. A dispute arose between the parties as to which party had the obligation of disposing of the cabinets. Subcontractor filed an action against general contractor for breach of the subcontract agreement. The trial court entered summary judgment and an award of damages in favor of subcontractor.

DISCUSSION

  • In affirming the trial court's judgment, the court held that, as a matter of law, subcontractor did not assume the specific contractual duties relating to the removal of the cabinets, and that there accordingly existed no genuine issues of material fact with regard to the issue. 
  • Thus, the court concluded that the trial judge was correct in granting summary judgment in favor of subcontractor with regard to the issue of liability. 
  • While the court held that the jury's verdict was not against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, the court held that subcontractor was not entitled to an award of damages for the cost of storing the old cabinets.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed on condition of remittitur. The court explained, however, that if remittitur was refused, the case was reversed and the matter remanded for a new trial solely on the issue of damages.


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