Central Ceilings, Inc. v. National Amusements, Inc.

Appeals Court of Massachusetts873 N.E.2d 754 (2007)

Facts

In March 2000, Central Ceilings, Inc. (Central) (plaintiff) was hired as a subcontractor by Old Colony Construction Corporation (Old Colony) to do carpentry work on a planned theatre complex owned by National Amusements, Inc. (National) (defendant). Old Colony fell behind in paying Central under the subcontract, and in order to keep the project on schedule for opening by Labor Day weekend, National met with Central and promised that it would pay the amount Old Colony owed Central on the subcontract. Central was uniquely able to complete the needed work due to its special skill and familiarity with the project, and another subcontractor likely would not complete the project in time. Central continued to perform in reliance on National’s promise, but National failed to pay the amount owed by Old Colony and Central sued National for breach of contract. National argued that the oral agreement was unenforceable under the Statute of Frauds as a promise to pay the debt of another. Central won a verdict of $600,000 against National, and National appealed.

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