Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pinches v. Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church case brief

Pinches v. Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church case brief summary
10 A. 264 (Conn. 1887)

In an action to recover for work done and materials furnished, defendant church appealed a decision of the Superior Court in Hartford County (Connecticut) that rendered a judgment for plaintiff contractor. The church alleged evidence was improperly excluded.

The contractor constructed an edifice for the church, but the completed project was not in exact compliance with the contract specifications. The contractor then brought this action seeking recovery for the work performed, and the trial court rendered a judgment in favor of the contractor. The church appealed, alleging the trial court erred in excluding its proffered evidence as to the amount it would have cost to make the building conform to the contract, based on their proposition that they were entitled to that amount in damages.


  • Upon review, the court found no error. 
  • It noted that the expenditure required to make the building conform would probably have deprived the contractor of any compensation for his labor. 
  • Furthermore, the structure had been adapted to the purpose for which it was built, and was in use by the church. 
  • Also, the contractor's errors were not intentional or willful. 
  • Finally, the court agreed that the trial court properly deducted from the contract price the amount of the diminution in the value of the building by reason of the contractor's deviation from the contract.
The court found no error in the trial court's decision ordering that the contractor recover for the work performed and materials furnished, less the diminution in value in relation to the value the structure would have had if constructed in exact compliance with the contract specifications.

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