Modern Machinery v. Flathead County
Montana Supreme Court
656 P.2d 206, 36 U.C.C. Rep. 395 (1982)
The board of commissioners (the commissioners) of Flathead County (defendant) wanted to purchase a rock-crusher machine for the county’s road department. Accordingly, the commissioners made a call for bids. Modern Machinery (Modern) (plaintiff) entered a bid of $305,725. Westmont entered the only two other bids, which were much cheaper but involved worse machines. After obtaining the road department’s approval, the commissioners approved the purchase. A few days later, Westmont’s attorney delivered a letter to a commissioner named Frank Guay. The letter demanded that the commissioners vacate the award of Modern’s bid to avoid further action from Westmont. Guay called Modern’s agent, Jim Fox, and told Fox to have the order stopped. Guay told Modern’s representatives a few more times to stop the order if they had not done so already. Guay later advised Modern that the bid award was not final until the clerk’s office issued letters accepting Modern’s bid and rejecting all other bids. Consequently, Modern’s attorney requested that the commissioners execute a letter directing Modern on how to proceed. Guay refused. Thereafter, Modern tried to deliver the machine, but Flathead County refused delivery. Modern sold the machine to a third-party for $186,499.86 and sued Flathead County for breach of contract. The jury ruled in Modern’s favor and awarded Modern $10,000 in damages. On appeal, Modern argued that the district court improperly instructed the jury on the measure of damages and that the jury’s verdict was not supported by substantial credible evidence.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harrison, J.)
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