Groves v. John Wunder Co.

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Groves v. John Wunder Co.
Court Supreme Court of Minnesota
Citation 205 Minn. 163, 286 N.W. 235 (1939)
Date decided 1939


Facts

Plaintiff contracted with defendant to have defendant excavate and screen gravel on the plaintiff’s lot. Defendant agreed to remove the sand and gravel and to leave the property at a uniform grade, substantially the same as the grade now existing at the roadway. Under the contract defendant got the Groves screening plant, and got to be rid of Groves as a competitor. After removing some of the gravel, defendant found that the reasonable cost of complying with the contract would cost upwards of $60,000 while the value of the property would have only increase by $12,160.

Procedural History

Judgment for plaintiff for $15,000, which was sorely disappointing.

Issues

Whether plaintiff is entitled to the difference in value of his land or to the reasonable cost of doing the work called for the contract which the defendant left to be undone.

Holding

Judgment for the plaintiff.

Reasoning

Damages should be calculated on the hypothetical peak of accomplishment, not value, which would have been reached had the work been done as demanded by the contract.