Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pavel Enterprises, Inc. v. A. S. Johnson Company, Inc. case brief

Pavel Enterprises, Inc. v. A. S. Johnson Company, Inc. case brief summary
342 Md. 143, 674 A.2d 521 (1996)

Appellant contractor sought review of a verdict from the Circuit Court for Prince George's County (Maryland), which found in favor of appellee subcontractor in the contractor's claim for breach of contract by detrimental reliance.

A contractor wished to bid on a construction project for the renovation of a building, which included heating, ventilation, and air conditioning work (HVAC). In effort to prepare its bid, the contractor solicited sub-bids from several subcontractors. One of the subcontractors verbally submitted a quote for the HVAC component. With the information, the contractor calculated the total cost and submitted its bid. It was accepted, but the contractor encountered problems with the subcontractor when the project planning was to begin. The subcontractor maintained that the bid from them was in error because it was entirely too low. The subcontractor had previously discovered the error but did not bother to correct it because it did not expect to receive the contract. The contractor filed an action for breach of contract. The trial court found that the contractual relationship had not yet been formed and found for the subcontractor.


  • The trial court's finding was affirmed on appeal when the court found no clearly erroneous determinations by the trial court. 
  • Neither the traditional contract theory nor the detrimental reliance theory supported the contractor's position.

The court affirmed the trial court's decisions and determined that the contractor was not entitled to recovery under the detrimental reliance theory or the estoppel theory.

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