Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wholesale Sand & Gravel v. Decker case brief

Wholesale Sand & Gravel v. Decker case brief summary
630 A.2d 710 (1973)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff contractor appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court, Sagadahoc County (Maine), which was entered in favor of defendant landowner on the contractor's claim for damages for a breach of the parties' contract. They had entered into a contract whereby the contractor agreed to perform earth work, including the installation of a gravel driveway, on the landowner's property.

CASE FACTS
The parties' contract contained no provision specifying a completion date for the work. After a jury-waived trial, the trial court entered a judgment in favor of the landowner. Although it found that a reasonable time for the completion of performance was 60 days, the trial court concluded that the contractor's conduct constituted an anticipatory repudiation of the contract, which permitted the landowner to terminate the contract during the 60-day period.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the contractor contended that the trial court erred in holding that its conduct constituted an anticipatory repudiation of the contract and in deciding the case on a defense that had not been raised in the pleadings. 
  • The court disagreed and affirmed the judgment. 
  • The court ruled that the trial court properly found that the contractor, through its conduct, manifested an unequivocal and definite inability or unwillingness to perform within a reasonable time.
  • Because the evidence produced at trial supported the trial court's finding that the contractor's conduct constituted an anticipatory breach of the contract, it did not err in deciding the case on that basis.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, which denied a contractor's claim against a landowner for damages for breach of their contract.

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