Plante v. Jacobs (1960)

Plante v. Jacobs
Supreme Court of Wisconsin, 1960.
10 Wis.2d 567, 103 N.W.2d 296.

Facts: Jacobs (D) contracted with Plante (P) to construct a house in accordance with plans and specifications, for the sum of $26,765.  During the course of construction the plaintiff was paid $20,000. Disputes arose between the parties, the defendants refused to continue payment and the plaintiff did not complete the house. The defendant’s showed that a number of items were left incomplete by the plaintiff.  The court held that the contract was substantially performed and awarded the plaintiff $4152.90 plus interest and costs.  The defendants appealed.

Issue: Can substantial performance be shown where some items remain incomplete?

Holding: Yes.

Decision/Analysis: Substantial performance as applied to construction of a house does not mean that every detail must be in strict compliance with the specifications and the plans. Although the defendants received a house with which they were dissatisfied in many respects, the trial court was not in error in finding the contract was substantially performed. For substantial performance the plaintiff should recover the contract price less the damages caused the defendant by the incomplete performance.

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