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Swanson v. BECO Construction Co., Inc.
Idaho Supreme Court
175 P.3d 748 (Idaho 2007)
BECO Construction Company (BECO) (defendant) and Ted Swanson (plaintiff) were working on a government construction site in 2004. BECO had issues with a skid steer loader that it had rented and requested to borrow Swanson’s skid steer loader, which was a Bobcat. Swanson agreed to let BECO rent the Bobcat at a rate of $300 per day. Swanson expected the arrangement to last about a week, until the other loader was repaired. On August 27, 2004, Swanson and BECO entered into a handwritten lease agreement that required BECO to pay $300 per working day that it possessed the Bobcat. BECO kept the Bobcat until October 18, 2004, when Swanson went to the jobsite and retook possession of the loader. Swanson calculated 44 working days that BECO had the loader and invoiced BECO for $13,200. BECO disagreed with the calculation and asserted that it only owed $6,219. Swanson sued BECO, alleging breach of contract. BECO asserted that the term “working day” should be interpreted to mean the same as a “working day” under the standard Idaho Transportation Department contract, which was limited to days on which conditions permit construction activities for at least five hours of the day. BECO also asserted that the contract should be supplemented by the standard usage of trade among commercial lessors of construction equipment to charge reduced rates for weekly and monthly rentals. The trial court ruled in favor of Swanson, and BECO appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Eismann, C.J.)
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