Sunday, December 1, 2013

Griffith v. Clear Lakes Trout Co., Inc. case brief

Griffith v. Clear Lakes Trout Co., Inc. case brief summary
152 P.3d 604 (2007)

Appellee trout grower filed suit alleging that appellant trout hatchery had breached their contract by refusing to accept and purchase in a timely manner the trout that the grower had grown to "market size." The District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, Twin Falls County (Idaho) found that the hatchery had breached its duty to take timely deliveries under the contract and awarded damages to the grower. Both parties appealed.


  • Substantial evidence supported the district court's finding that any difference of interpretation as to the term "market size" did not defeat contract formation. 
  • The fact that the parties' interpretations coincided during the first three years of the contract was persuasive. 
  • The court also placed weight on the course of negotiation and the prior course of dealing. 
  • The court found that the course of performance between the parties over the first three years of the contract, as well as their course of dealing prior to executing the agreement, confirmed that the parties intended market size to indicate trout approximating one pound live weight. 
  • The grower also presented evidence of similar trade usage predating the contract. 
  • Both parties agreed it was in their interest to have "continuous and uniform delivery" each month. 
  • The district court found that those terms were inconsistent with the notion that market size might vary dramatically, since altering the required size might entail varying the delivery schedule and increasing the number of harvests. 
  • The Supreme Court of Idaho would not disturb the district court's conclusion that the hatchery breached the contract.

The decision of the district court was affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in part for the determination of damages for years six and seven of the contract. The grower was awarded costs and attorney fees on appeal.

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