Friday, December 27, 2013

London Bucket Co. v. Stewart case brief

London Bucket Co. v. Stewart case brief summary
237 S.W.2d 509 (1951)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant furnace installer challenged the decision of the chancellor (Kentucky), which decreed specific performance of a contract to properly furnish and install a heating system for a motel owned by plaintiff motel owner. On appeal, the furnace installer argued that the remedy of specific performance would not lie for breach of this type of contract.

CASE FACTS
The motel owner alleged that the furnace installer did not install the furnace in a workmanlike manner and that it never finished installing the furnace. The chancellor required the motel owner to elect his remedy. The motel owner chose specific performance and dismissed without prejudice his action for damages.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court reversed the chancellor's decision. 
  • The motel owner did not state a cause of action for specific performance, and the furnace installer's demurrer should have been sustained. 
  • The court held that an equitable decree would not be adjudged unless the ordinary common law remedy of damages for a breach of contract was an inadequate and incomplete remedy for injuries arising from the failure to carry out its terms. 
  • Generally contracts for building construction would not be specifically enforced because ordinarily damages were an adequate remedy and because of the incapacity of the trial court to superintend the performance. 
  • The instant action was not within the exceptions to the rule or of the class where specific performance should be decreed. 
  • That there might be difficulty in proving the damages was not enough to put the action within the exceptions.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the chancellor's decision, which decreed specific performance of a contract to properly furnish and install a heating system for a motel owned by the motel owner.


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