Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sullivan v. Bullock case brief

Sullivan v. Bullock case brief summary
864 P.2d 184 (1993)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff homeowner appealed the judgment from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State of Idaho, Canyon County, finding that although defendant contractor had not substantially performed under the contract, he had been prevented from doing so by the homeowner. The plaintiff also appealed the denial of her motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial.

CASE FACTS
The homeowner sued the contractor for damages for breach of a remodeling contract. The contractor filed a counterclaim. The district court entered a verdict finding that the contractor had been prevented from completing performance by the homeowner. The jury awarded the balance of the contract price to the contractor. The homeowner appealed.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the finding that the contractor had not substantially performed under the contract, but was unreasonably prevented from doing so by the homeowner, was supported by the evidence. 
  • However, the award of damages in the full amount of the contract price was erroneous. 
  • The evidence did not support the portion of the damages awarded for work that was not originally contemplated by the parties. 
  • The court also found that substantial evidence supported the finding that the contractor did not breach the contract. 
  • Likewise, the jury instruction on the issue of prevention was adequate.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the denial of the motions in so far as the decision below held that the homeowner prevented the contractor's complete performance. However, the court reversed and remanded the decision to the extent it approved an erroneous measure of damages in favor of the contractor. The court also vacated the award of attorney fees and remanded for further consideration by the district court.

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