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Fursmidt v. Hotel Abbey Holding Corp.

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Fursmidt (Plaintiff) and his father contracted with Hotel Abbey Holding Corp. (Defendant) to render valet parking and laundry services for the Defendant’s hotel.  The Defendant notified the Plaintiff that he was to discontinue his services, and then replaced Plaintiff with a third party.   

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An objective standard of reasonableness applies to satisfaction with contracts relating to operative fitness utility or marketability.  However, contracts involving taste or judgment involve a subjective standard of satisfaction.  

    Facts.

    The agreement contained the provision that “the services to be rendered by the [Plaintiff] shall meet with the approval of the [Defendant], who shall be the sole judge of the sufficiency and propriety of the services.”

    The Defendant claimed it was genuinely dissatisfied with Plaintiff’s services.  The trial court said that the Defendant’s dissatisfaction had to be reasonable, and the jury found for the Plaintiff.

    Issue.

    Was the agreement one relating to operative fitness, utility or marketability so that the reasonable man standard applied, or one involving fancy?

    Held.

    The agreement fell into the latter category, involving taste or judgment.  Reversed on the law and a new trial ordered.

    ·         The overriding objective of the Defendant was to ensure proper, efficient, courteous and reasonable valet and laundry facilities.

    The performance did not involve mechanical fitness, utility or marketability; so it was error for the trial court to give the jury the question of the reasonableness of the Defendant’s asserted dissatisfaction

    Dissent.

    None.

    Concurrence.

    None.

    Discussion.

    The terms and nature of the contract were such that a subjective standard of satisfaction applied involving the taste and judgment of the Defendant.  


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