Kellogg Bridge Co. v. Hamilton
United States Supreme Court
110 U.S. 108 (1884)
The Kellogg Bridge Company (Kellogg) (defendant) contracted with Hamilton (plaintiff) to complete the work on a bridge. Kellogg had already built some falsework, which consisted of platforms placed on piles driven into the river. Hamilton paid Kellogg for the falsework. Ice carried away Kellogg’s falsework, causing material on the span to fall into the river. The piles could have withstood the ice’s force had Kellogg driven them more firmly into the riverbed. Hamilton was unaware of the falsework’s inadequacy when he contracted with Kellogg; it was not apparent upon any examination Hamilton made or could have made. Because of Kellogg’s insufficient falsework, the bridge’s completion was delayed. Hamilton sued Kellogg to recover the contract price, extra work, and damages caused by Kellogg’s falsework. At trial, the court instructed the jury that by the contract, there was an implied warranty by Kellogg that the falsework was suitable for the purposes for which Kellogg knew Hamilton intended to use it, and Hamilton had the right to rely on the implied warranty if he was unable to discern the alleged defect by ordinary examination and care. The jury found for Hamilton. Kellogg brought a writ of error, arguing that caveat emptor applied.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)
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