Iannuccillo v. Material Sand and Stone Corp.

713 A.2d 1234 (1998)

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Iannuccillo v. Material Sand and Stone Corp.

Rhode Island Supreme Court
713 A.2d 1234 (1998)

Facts

The contract between Louis Iannuccillo (plaintiff), Material Sand and Stone Corporation (Material), and C. Pezza & Son, Inc. (Pezza) (defendants) obligated Pezza to blast and remove any exposed rock on Iannuccillo’s worksite. The contract obligated Material to process the removed rock for sale. Pezza’s initial excavation destabilized the adjacent hillside. Town authorities stopped the dig and demanded that Iannuccillo come up with a plan for remediating the situation, which Iannuccillo failed to do. After two months, the authorities let the work resume, but only on condition that Pezza immediately stabilize the hillside. Further digging disclosed the hitherto-unknown presence of a massive, underground stone ledge. The cost of removing the ledge far exceeded the contract price for removing rock from the worksite. Pezza was willing to remove the ledge, but only if Iannuccillo agreed to modify the contract, which Iannuccillo refused to do. Pezza stopped work. Iannuccillo sued Material and Pezza for breach of contract. The trial court dismissed the charge against Material. However, the trial court rejected Pezza’s twin defenses of impossibility and impracticability. Pezza appealed the trial court’s award of damages for Iannuccillo to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Weisberger, C.J.)

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