Jelen & Son, Inc. v. Bandimere

801 P.2d 1182 (1990)

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Jelen & Son, Inc. v. Bandimere

Colorado Supreme Court
801 P.2d 1182 (1990)

Facts

Samson Bandimere (defendant) owned land with warehouse space. For years, Bandimere rented warehouse space to a series of tenants who worked in the mining business. After one of the tenants defaulted, Bandimere took possession of the tenant’s property, which included barrels of chemicals and some mining equipment. Many of the barrels were unlabeled, lidless, corroded, or leaking. Bandimere wanted to sell the barrels and the equipment, so he contacted a mining-equipment company named Jelen & Son, Inc. (Jelen) (plaintiff). Jelen agreed to exchange a compressor machine plus some cash for the barrels and equipment. Thereafter, Bandimere and Jelen’s president had a telephone conversation in which Bandimere agreed to deliver the barrels and equipment to one of Jelen’s properties. On the way to make the delivery, the leaking barrels caught the attention of the fire marshal. Bandimere stated that he did not know what the barrels contained, so the fire marshal called in a hazardous-materials expert, who determined that the barrels were extremely dangerous. Jelen refused to accept the delivery, and the authorities determined that the barrels were Bandimere’s responsibility. Bandimere faced criminal charges, which were dismissed once he agreed to pay all the clean-up costs. Bandimere sued Jelen and alleged that Jelen’s refusal to accept the delivery caused Bandimere to be responsible for the clean-up costs. The jury ruled in Bandimere’s favor and awarded Bandimere damages, including for attorney’s fees incurred to defend against criminal charges. The appellate court affirmed the jury verdict apart from the attorney’s-fees award. The appellate court found that Bandimere could recover the costs of clean-up and disposal because these were foreseeable damages that were the natural and proximate consequences of Jelen’s breach of the contract.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Erickson, J.)

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