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Carter v. Sherburne Corp.

Vermont Supreme Court
315 A.2d 870 (1974)


Facts

Sherburne Corporation (Sherburne) (defendant) entered into four contracts with Carter (plaintiff) for the development of property. Two of the contracts contained penalty provisions for late performance. In addition, the contracts contained a holdback provision that allowed Shelburne to retain ten percent of the contract amount for Carter’s non-compliance with the contracts. During construction, Shelburne constantly moved Carter from one contract to another. As a result, Carter failed to complete performance in the time allotted by the contracts and Shelburne withheld the final ten percent of the contact price. Carter sued for the remaining amount of money. The trial court held for Carter stating that Carter substantially complied with the terms of the contract because time was not of the essence. Additionally, any delays in Carter’s performance were a result of Shelburne’s actions. Shelburne appealed arguing that because time was of the essence, Carter failed to substantially comply with the terms of the contract and Shelburne was not required to pay Carter.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Shangraw, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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