Performance &amp; Discharge
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Chapter 18 – Performance and Discharge
1. Read the case STR Constructors v Newman Tile (Links to an external site.)
2. Watch the youtube video on performance and discharge (Links to an external site.) in contracts
3. Look at the Team Presentation PPT (Links to an external site.)
4. Carefully explain in your own words (paraphrase and do not copy from the case) the following words and statements from the case:
- #1 – More than a “scintilla of evidence” exists when the evidence supporting the finding, as a whole, would enable reasonable and fair-minded people to differ in their conclusions. As the sole judge of the weight and credibility of the evidence, the jury is entitled to resolve any conflicts in the evidence and to choose which testimony to believe. We therefore assume that jurors decided questions of credibility or conflicting evidence in favor of the verdict if they reasonably could do so. Accordingly, we do not substitute our judgment for that of the jurors if the evidence falls within this zone of reasonable disagreement.
- #2 – A party breaches a contract when he fails to perform an act that he has expressly or impliedly promised to perform. (Links to an external site.)If the breach is material, the other party is discharged or excused from further performance. Whether a party’s breach is so material as to render the contract unenforceable is ordinarily a question of fact to be determined based on several factors.
- #3 – The evidence presented was legally sufficient for the jury to conclude that STR materially breached the contract and did so first by failing to pay what it owed NTI before terminating the contract. As noted above, STR argues that it did not have an obligation to pay NTI because “[it] did not receive payment for NTI’s work on the kitchen tile, which is what pay applications #3 and #4 covered.” It is clear that, pursuant to the contract, payment from STR to NTI was conditioned on payment from the district to STR. It is also clear that the district did not pay STR for the tile work NTI completed. However, the evidence establishes that STR paid two of the payment applications submitted by NTI during the course of the project. More importantly, there was no evidence adduced at trial that the district had paid STR for any of the work STR’s subcontractors had performed up to the point that the district refused to pay STR for NTI’s tile work in the kitchen
- #4 – As for the five change orders, it is accurate that none was signed by STR. However, this was immaterial given that STR did not intend to pay any of them, as testified by Kennedy and Brown. In light of the foregoing, more than a scintilla of evidence existed permitting the jury to conclude that STR waived performance of the contractual provisions on which it now relies. STR’s first and second issues are overruled.
- #5 – Ordinarily, a party cannot recover damages if it breaches a contract. However, under the doctrine of substantial performance, a breaching party may recover damages if it has substantially complied with its contractual obligations. To recover damages under this doctrine, a breaching party must ordinarily obtain a finding that it substantially performed. A breaching party, however, need not obtain a finding that it substantially performed in a case in which both parties breach and the jury, after being instructed to decide which party breached first, finds that the other party did and that its breach was unexcused
- #6 – As a general rule, a plaintiff seeking “to recover the reasonable value of services rendered or materials supplied will be permitted to recover in quantum meruit only when there is no express contract covering those services or materials.”
- #7 – Explain who won the case and provide a conclusion
(Remember to number your responses and restate the statements you are being asked to explain. Points will be deducted for not following these instructions.)
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