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Plante v. Jacobs

Supreme Court of Wisconsin
103 N.W.2d 296 (1960)


Facts

Frank and Carol Jacobs (defendants) contracted with Eugene Plante (plaintiff) to construct a house for them according to specifications set out in their written agreement. The total price for building the house was $26,765 and the Jacobs paid $20,000 during the construction. The Jacobs, who had concerns about the quality of the construction and perceived flaws in the work completed thus far, refused to continue paying Plante. Plante ceased building the house and sought to place a lien on the property to collect the remaining balance of the contract price. The Jacobs argued in defense that Plante failed to substantially perform because various aspects of the construction either remained incomplete or were poorly constructed and in need of repair or replacement. They claimed that the cost of repairing the defects and completing the work would cost 25 to 30 percent of the contract price. Among the repairs to be made were cracks in the plaster, the patio floor and non-structural patio wall. The Jacobs also asserted that the living room was constructed one foot from where it was supposed to be built according to the contract specifications. The trial court found that the contract was substantially performed by Plante and applied the cost of repair rule in determining damages. The matter was appealed to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hallows, J.)

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