Friday, March 31, 2017

As Much As He (She) Deserves-Quantum Meruit Recovery

I am representing a client seeking payment for extra work, with both breach of contract and quantum meruit claims.  The defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the case should be dismissed because my client did not have documents needed to support its claim.  I couldn't figure out how a motion for judgment on the pleadings would be a proper vehicle to ask for relief in this situation.  But, I also addressed the substance of the motion.

My thought going in:  the law should not require particular documentation in order to state a claim.  A Georgia case supported my belief.  In Hamler v. Wood, an interior designer, Wood, sought to recover for work performed under theories of breach of contract and quantum meruit.

On the quantum meruit claim, the owner, Hamler, moved for a directed verdict, arguing that Wood failed to provide sufficient evidence of the reasonable value of her services. The trial court denied the motion, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.  The Court of Appeals found that Wood's oral testimony was sufficient proof:

With respect to value, Wood offered evidence of the master invoice, which detailed the cost of work approved by Hamler, as well as testimony regarding the hours she spent on the project and their agreed-upon hourly rate. She explained the balance due on Hamler's account. Moreover, she asserted that Hamler never questioned the time she billed to the project, did not raise most of his complaints about the workmanship until "[y]ears later," asked her to continue working for him, and promised to pay her. Because such evidence authorized the jury to value the benefit of Wood's services, the trial court properly denied Hamler's motion for directed verdict as to quantum meruit.

Wood sufficiently proved "what she deserved" -- by her testimony.

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