Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Leingang v. Mandan Weed Board case brief

Leingang v. Mandan Weed Board case brief summary
468 N.W.2d 397 (1991)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff contractor challenged the judgment from the Morton County Court, South Central Judicial District (North Dakota) which awarded damages for breach of contract in an action against defendant, a city weed board.

CASE FACTS
The weed board awarded plaintiff a contract to cut weeds on lots larger than a certain number of square feet. Another contractor received a contract for smaller lots. Plaintiff discovered that the board's agent was improperly assigning large lots to the small-lot contractor. Plaintiff complained and the weed board assigned him some substitute lots. Plaintiff filed the action and the board admitted that it had prevented plaintiff's performance under the contract price. Plaintiff appealed the method used by the trial court to derive net profits.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed. 
  • In measuring plaintiff's anticipated profits, the trial court erroneously calculated a "net profit" margin by deducting general costs of doing business including insurance, repairs, supplies, and car and truck expenses. 
  • The trial court did not determine whether those costs remained constant regardless of the board's breach and whether they were, therefore, not to be deducted from the contract price. 
  • The reduction from the contract price of a portion of the "fixed," or constant expenses, effectively required plaintiff to pay that portion twice.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgment and remanded for a new trial on the issue of damages.


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