Friday, December 27, 2013

Sparks v. Gustafson case brief

Sparks v. Gustafson case brief summary
750 P.2d 338 (1988)

Defendant executor challenged the decision of the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Second Judicial District, Nome, which ordered the executor's estate to pay plaintiff manager compensation for management services that the manager rendered to the estate and for maintaining and improving the estate property.

The manager alleged a breach of an oral contract by the executor and the estate and later filed an amended complaint, which alleged that the manager was entitled to recover for funds and services that he expended on the building under an equitable lien theory. At trial, the superior court found that it would be inequitable to allow the estate to retain the benefits that the manager had conferred upon the property at his own expense. The court ordered the estate to pay the manager compensation.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • The court held that the executor was properly denied a continuance because he waited months to request vital information in discovery. 
  • The court held that the trial court did not err in awarding the manager damages under an unjust enrichment theory because, although the complaint did not clearly encompass the theory, it was tried with the express or implied consent of the executor. 
  • The court agreed that the manager was entitled to compensation because the services that he performed for the estate were the types of extensive business services for which one would ordinarily expect to be paid. 
  • The court found that the services were not offered gratuitously.

The court affirmed the trial court's order that the estate pay the manager compensation for services rendered to estate property.

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