Solutions to Cases - Chapter 8
1. Sumpter v. Hedges  1 Q.B. 673 (C.A.).
The contract was clear that payment was only due upon completion. Although the defendant
had benefited, the court would not order payment without completion of the contract. The
argument of quantum meruit was raised but the court found that they could not award
compensation to the plaintiff for the partial work done on the basis of an implied contract
when in fact the old contract was still present and still outstanding. There has to be evidence
of a fresh contract or room to imply a contract and a new contract cannot be implied in the
face of the clear breach of an old one.
2. Betker v. Williams (1991) 86 D.L.R. (4th) 395 (BCCA)
The court held that since this exemption clause was not brought to the attention of the Betkers
they were not bound by it, therefore the negligent misrepresentation on the part of the realtors
was actionable. Rescission is the appropriate remedy, but because of the delay, rescission
was not granted and damages awarded.
3. Bell v. St. Thomas University (1992) 97 D.L.R. (4th) 370 (N.B.Q.B.)
The court held that the calendar was a contract and that this was a breach of it. They also
held that no negligent misrepresentation had taken place even though it was argued. It is
interesting to note that although it was found there was a breach of contract, the court also
found that the plaintiff had demonstrated no damages and so the action was dismissed. He
couldn’t establish that if he had retaken the course he would have passed it and obtained his
Bachelor of Social Work degree.
4. Capital Quality Homes, Ltd. v. Colwym Construction Ltd. (l975) 6l D.L.R. (3d) 385 (Ont.
The court held that the changing conditions frustrated the contract and, therefore, the
contractual obligations between the parties were discharged by frustration. This is an outside
event, uncontrollable by either party that makes it impossible to perform the contract. There
was some question as to whether frustration can apply to land. The court deals with that
problem and decides clearly that it can. It is interesting to point out, however, that if the
reason it was impossible to reach consensus was because one of the parties had never tried,
that would have been self-induced frustration and would have been simply breach of contract.
5. Rinn v. Parent Seeds Ltd. (2001) 156 Man. R. (2d) 191, (Man. C.A)
The appeal court held that the contract had been frustrated. In this case it was clear that the
contract required the delivery of specific black beans grown by Rinn with seed supplied by
Parent. When that contract became impossible because of the frost it was frustrated. Note
that had it not been clear that the beans were to come from a specific source frustration would
not have applied and Rinn would have been required to supply beans from an alternate
6. Computer Workshops v. Banner Capital Market Brokers (1988) 50 D.L.R. (4th) 118. (Ont.
The court dismissed the action in this case. Computer Workshops had used or attempted to
use information that was confidential and, therefore, was in breach of an implied term in this
contract. It was also in breach of its fiduciary duty and in breach of its duty of
confidentiality. Since this was a breach going to the root of the contract, the defendants were
entitled to terminate the contract and they were not obligated to perform under it.
7. Ferme Gérald Laplante & Fils Ltée v. Grenville Patron Mutual Fire Insurance Co. (2002)
217 D.L.R. (4th) 34 (Ont. C.A.)
This award of punitive damages was appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, which held
that no punitive damages should be paid in this case. The court pointed out that the award of
punitive damages is an exceptional remedy and should only be awarded in a contract dispute
where there was some other actionable wrong such as deceit or breach of fiduciary duty. Here
there was a genuine dispute between the parties and although the matter was hard fought,
there was no misconduct requiring punishment and so punitive damages were inappropriate.