Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alfred L. Angel v. John E. Murray, Jr. case brief

Angel v. Murray case brief summary
322 A.2d 630

SYNOPSIS:Defendants appealed the civil judgment of the Superior Court (Rhode Island) finding that additional payments under a contract were illegal and ordering defendants to repay the money.

OVERVIEW: Plaintiffs, citizens, filed a civil action seeking repayment of additional fees paid to defendant refuse collector by defendant city budget director under a contract. Defendant refuse collector was awarded a contract with the city. He requested additional payments to cover unexpected increases in refuse. Plaintiffs alleged the payments violated the city charter and were made without consideration. The court found for plaintiffs.

On appeal, the court reversed, holding that the city charter did not intend to limit the city's ability to amend an existing contract.

-The court abandoned the preexisting duty rule, and found that the city voluntarily agreed to give defendant refuse collector the requested fees and amend the contract.
-The modification was made during a time when the contract was not fully performed, and evidence was presented that the volume of refuse had unexpectedly risen substantially.
-Therefore, the decision to pay the additional fees was fair and equitable.

OUTCOME: The court reversed, holding that the city charter did not prohibit city from amending a contract, and the amendment was voluntary, made during the existence of the contract, and in response to unanticipated, substantial increases in refuse.

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