United States, For Use Of Susi Contracting Co., Inc. v. Zara Contracting Co.

146 F.2d 606 (1944)

Facts

D entered into a subcontract with Ps. The work involved the excavation of material and placing, manipulating, rolling, and compacting it as a base and surface course for landing strips or runways. Ps encountered clay, which made progress of their work extremely difficult, caused the breakdown of their tools, and, required the performance of work not called for by the contract. Ps made demands on D. D refused and Ps sued D for breach of contract. D took over the completion of the contract and took possession of and for some three months utilized the equipment furnished by Ps at the contract site. P sought recovery for the reasonable cost and value of the actual work performed, and the fair and reasonable rental value of the equipment for the period of its retention and use. D filed a counterclaim that Ps refused to perform and thus were terminated and D was due damages for this breach. The District Court found for Ps with a net judgment of $19,519.65. Ps appealed because the rental allowance was too small, and D appealed because of the holding that D was the one who breached the contract and because of the allowance for increased cost of excavation.