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Purofirst of Southwest Jersey v. Warner

A-3594-06T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2008) (Unpublished)

CONTRACTS; QUANTUM MERUIT — If, in good faith, a supplier performs additional services above and beyond what its contract calls for, and those additional services are accepted by the customer, then the supplier is entitled to receive reasonable compensation, on a quantum meruit basis, for the additional work.

A restoration company sued a homeowner for amounts owed for extra work the company performed in connection with its demolition and other construction services on a house. A fire had caused significant damage to the house’s roof and supporting beams, and there was extensive water damage and significant mold, refuse, and crumbling plaster. The original agreement between the homeowner and its company addressed those repairs. However, because of poor structural integrity and lack of egress to the backyard, the company was required to construct a scaffold and provide additional precautions to ensure that debris reached dumpsters. This extra work generated costs not included in the original contract. At no time during the construction did the homeowner object to the extra work or cost. At the conclusion of trial, the lower court held that, although a change order had not been executed prior to the completion of the extra items for which the company sought payment, the owner had knowledge of all this work and had implicitly agreed to it. The Court found that payment for its extra work was warranted under a theory of quantum meruit and was not a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act.

On appeal, the Appellate Division agreed with the lower court’s ruling that the extras were known to the homeowner and implicitly or explicitly approved by him. The Court noted that where one party has benefited the other, denying relief would be unjust and measuring damages in accordance with principles of quantum meruit is appropriate. Further, it held that the evidence supported the lower court’s finding that the company performed its services in good faith, that the services were accepted by the owner, and that the company was entitled to reasonable compensation for its additional work.


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