Contracts Keyed to Murray
Anderson v. Schwegel
Ronald Schwegel (Defendant) orally agreed to “restore” an automobile for George Anderson (Plaintiff) for $6,000. Defendant believed that “restore” meant restoration only of the body of the automobile, while Plaintiff believed it also included engine repairs. Defendant later informed Plaintiff that the automobile needed substantial engine work to make it drivable, and Plaintiff authorized him to do the work without asking whether the engine repair would be included in the original $6,000 cost. Before work was completed, Plaintiff received an itemized statement of work that had been completed so far, which exceeded $6,000, to which Plaintiff did not object. The final cost of work totaled $9,800. Plaintiff had previously paid $5,000 and refused to pay the remaining $4,800. Defendant refused to return the vehicle. Plaintiff sued Defendant, seeking enforcement of the $6,000 contract price and recovery of the automobile. After trial, the magistrate found that no contract between the parties existed, because there was no agreement on the meaning of the word “restore.” The magistrate awarded Defendant $4,800 for the reasonable value of services and materials retained by Plaintiff, which included a twenty percent markup that Defendant charged on some of the work. The district court affirmed. Plaintiff appealed.
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