Chase Precast Corp. v. John J. Paonessa Co.
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
566 N.E.2d 603 (1991)
The Massachusetts government entered into two contracts with Paonessa (defendant) for resurfacing and improving highways and replacing the grass median strips with concrete surfacing and median barriers. Paonessa entered into contracts with Chase (plaintiff) under which Chase was to supply the median barriers. When the highway project began, Massachusetts began receiving complaints about the removal of the grass median strip from residents, who subsequently filed an action in court to halt the project. Expecting that Massachusetts would have to change the contract in light of the litigation, Paonessa asked Chase to stop producing the barriers, and Chase did so, though it had already produced about one-half the order and had delivered most to the site. Paonessa paid for all barriers produced. As a result of the litigation, Massachusetts deleted the median barriers item from the contracts with Paonessa. Chase brought an action to recover its anticipated profit on the balance of the barriers called for by the contracts. Paonessa brought a cross action against Massachusetts for indemnification in the event it should be held liable to Chase. The Superior Court judge ruled for Paonessa on the basis of impossibility of performance. Chase and Paonessa cross-appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed but noted that the doctrine of frustration of purpose more accurately supported the judgeâ€™s decision. Chase appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.