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Spang Industires, Inc., Fort Pitt Bridge Divisions v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co

    Brief Fact Summary. Torrington Construction Co. (Torrington) is a construction company contracted to build a bridge for the State of New York. Torrington contracted with Sprang Industries, Fort Pitt divisions (Fort Pitt) to supply the steal for construction. They agreed to a June delivery date but Fort Pitt did not deliver enough steal until September.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. When a party breaches a contract and the damages that flow from that breach can easily be foreseen by the breaching party, the injured party is entitled to damages from the breaching party.

    Facts. Torrington contracted with Fort Pitt to provide steal for the construction of a bridge on the New York-New Hampshire border. The parties agreed to a June delivery date for the steal. Fort Pitt did not deliver enough steal for the project until September. Due to the delay, Torrington had to pour all the concrete for the bridge in one day and pay overtime and other expenses. The only other option was to wait until Spring to finish the project.

    Issue. Is Torrington entitled to damages for the overtime they had to pay to pour the concrete before it got too cold?

    Held. Yes
    Fort Pitt argues that under the principles of Hadley v. Baxendale, the damages Torrington incurred were due to “special circumstances” Fort Pitt did not know about and could not have foreseen.
    Fort Pitt, being in the business of supplying steal for construction, should have known that construction of bridges involves pouring concrete, which cannot be done in cold weather.
    Fort Pitt should also have known that when Torrington set the delivery date for June, they needed the steal in June.

    Discussion. The court makes light of Torrington’s heroic efforts to mitigate their damages. Clearly, their damages would be greater if they had waited until spring to complete the work. The court was thoroughly unimpressed by Fort Pitt’s argument that Torrington’s damages could not be foreseen by Fort Pitt.


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