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Commerce Partnership 8098 Limited Partnership v. Equity Contracting Co.

Florida District Court of Appeal
695 So. 2d 383


Commerce Partnership 8098 Limited Partnership (Commerce) (defendant) owned an office building. Commerce contracted with World Properties, Inc. (the general contractor) to perform improvements on the building. The general contractor contracted with Equity Contracting Co. (Equity) (plaintiff) to perform work on the office building. Both Commerce and the general contractor inspected Equity’s work as it progressed. When Equity completed its work, Commerce inspected it and asked Equity to do some repairs. Equity asked for partial payment before starting the repairs, which Commerce refused. Equity filed suit against the general contractor, who filed for bankruptcy. Equity then filed suit against Commerce under the theory of quantum meruit. At trial, after Equity rested, Commerce moved for involuntary dismissal, arguing Equity had not proven its case under the theory of “contract implied in fact.” That motion was denied. In its closing argument, Equity stated that it was seeking to prove “unjust enrichment.” Commerce moved to reopen its case, stating that Equity’s statement in closing was the first indication that Commerce was defending a quasi-contract claim. The trial court granted Commerce’s motion. Commerce provided evidence that the contract price was nearly $257,000, that it had paid over $64,000 directly to three subcontractors for their work on the project, and that it had paid over $223,000 to the general contractor. The trial court granted Equity’s objection to this evidence as irrelevant. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Equity. Commerce appealed to the Florida District Court of Appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gross, J.)

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