Angel v. Murray

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Angel v. Murray
Court
Citation 322 A.2d 630 (RI 1974)
Date decided 1974

Facts

Murray is the director of finance of Newport, RI. The city entered into a contract with James Maher. Maher was to collect and remove all refuse from the city for a set amount of money. During the execution of the contract the city grew much more than expected, and Maher asked the city for $10,000 more to cover his costs. The city paid. The next year, the same thing happened and the city paid $10,000 more to Maher. Alfred Angel brought suit alleging that Maher had been illegally paid the $20,000.

Procedural History

Trial court found that each $10,000 payment had been paid illegally. Superior court affirmed.

Issues

Are the subsequent contracts enforceable? Do they constitute consideration?

Holding

The contracts are enforceable.

Judgment

Reversed.

Reasons

There was no coercion in the formation of the second contract. The city voluntarily agreed to the changes in the agreement. The changes in the conditions that led to the changes in the contract went beyond reasonable expectations at the time of forming the original contract, so it is reasonable that a new contract be created. Because the contract wasn’t fully performed by either party, the contract was changeable.