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Quasi-contract With Owner May Open Avenue Of Relief For Sub

Monday, May 02, 2011 05:58 am


Contracts - Unjust Enrichment

Horgan Brothers, Inc. v. Monroe Property, LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20907 (D. N.J. Feb. 28, 2011)

A project owner went over its contractor?s head and issued several change orders to a subcontractor. As a result of those direct dealings, the sub may have a valid unjust enrichment claim against the owner.

Subcontractor Horgan Brothers, Inc. (Horgan) sought more than $850,000 in nonpayment for work it performed on a restaurant construction project in Williamstown, New Jersey. It first filed a construction lien claim and then filed a complaint in court, charging project owner Taylor Mills (Mills) with unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. Mills argued that Horgan couldn?t pursue its claims since the sub?s contract was with the general contractor, GJW Building Inc. (GJW), and not Mills. However, Horgan successfully proposed the possibility of a quasi-contractual relationship with Mills due to the many direct dealings the wner and sub had during the project.

On the one hand, there was substantial evidence of the ontractu [...]

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