Jacob & Youngs v. Kent

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Jacob & Youngs v. Kent
Court Court of Appeals of New York
Citation 230 N.Y. 239
129 N.E. 889 (1921)
Date decided 1921

FactsThe plaintiff contracted to build a house for the defendant, and the contract stated that he was to use only a certain type of plumbing pipe. Due to negligence, the plaintiff inadvertently substituted another type of pipe, in direct violation of the contract. The defendant refused to pay the remaining $3,000 he owed, because the contract was not fulfilled. He desired that the plaintiff replace the pipe, which would have cost a large amount of money to reconstruct the house.


Procedural History

Plaintiff filed suit for non-payment, and defendant contended that plaintiff breached the contract and payment was not necessary.


Issues

Whether a departure from a contact that is deemed a breach of an insignificant term and independent from the rest of the contract can allow a ridiculous judge to deem the measure of allowance to be the difference in value rather than the cost of replacement.


Holding/Decision

Judgment for the plaintiff.


Reasoning

Evidence proving that the defect is unsubstantial based on the intent of the parties allows the court to measure the allowance by the difference of value, which is either nominal or nothing, rather than the cost of replacement.


Dissent

The court should not look into the reason for the specification in the contract, but should rule against the party that did not perform his part of the contract.