Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Era Homes Corp. v. Forster

New Era Homes Corp. v. Forster case brief summary
86 N.E.2d 757 (1949)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant homeowners challenged a judgment of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (New York), which unanimously affirmed a judgment in favor of appellee builder entered upon a verdict. The builder had filed suit claiming breach of contract when the homeowners refused to pay the builder the third installment on a building contract.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the total price was the single consideration for the whole of the work and that separately listed payments in the contract were not allocated absolutely to certain parts of the undertaking but were scheduled part payments, mutually convenient to the builder and the homeowners. 
  • The contract did not state that separate items of work would be done for separate amounts of money but that the whole alteration project, including material and labor, was to be supplied for the price. 
  • Nothing in the record suggested that the parties had intended to group several separate engagements, each with its own separate consideration. 
  • The builder, on the homeowner's default, could collect either in quantum meruit for what had been finished or in contract for the value of what the builder had lost -- that is, the contract price, less payments made and less the cost of completion.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgments and granted a new trial.

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