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Brief Fact Summary. Iron Trade Products Co. (Plaintiff), contracted with Wilkoff Co. (Defendant), for the delivery of rails at a set price. When Defendant did not deliver the rails, Plaintiff purchased them from another supplier at a higher price, and sued for the difference from the contract price. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed judgment for the Plaintiff.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A party may not breach a contract simply because it is difficult for him/her to perform his obligations on the contract.
The conduct of one party to a contract, which prevents the other from performing his part, is an excuse for nonperformance.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a party may repudiate an agreement because performance becomes difficult or less profitable than at the time the contract was made?
Held. No. In general, when one party interferes with or prevents the other party from performing his part of the contract, the other party may be excused for nonperformance. However, in this case, Plaintiff did not intend to interfere with Defendant’ performance when it made the other purchase of rails, and nothing in the contract prohibited it from purchasing other rails. Defendant’s performance was not prevented by Plaintiff’s conduct, it was only made more difficult and expensive. This does not excuse nonperformance.
Discussion. That a bargain turns out not to be profitable or easy to perform for one party to the contract does not excuse that party from performing on the contract. This is a potential risk of doing business, and courts will not interfere in those matters.