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Choy v. Bouchelle

decided: October 9, 1970.

RUDY CHOY, WARREN SEAMAN AND ALFRED KUMULAE, CO-PARTNERS DOING BUSINESS AS CHOY, SEAMAN AND KUMULAE
v.
ELMER H. BOUCHELLE, APPELLANT



Hastie, Chief Judge, and Ganey and Stahl,*fn* Circuit Judges.

Author: Ganey

Opinion OF THE COURT

GANEY, Circuit Judge.

A jury awarded plaintiffs $15,000 on their claim for the balance due them by defendant under both a design fee and a boat construction contract and for special damages, and found against the latter on his counterclaim for loss of a charter season. The district court denied, without opinion, defendant's posttrial motions for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial wherein it was alleged that the contract was so vague and indefinite with regard to prices, the times of delivery and what was to be delivered, as to render it unenforceable. Additionally, the plaintiffs' motion for bill of costs, as well as for an attorney's fee in the sum of $3,020.00, plus $94.06 for disbursements was allowed, to which the defendant objected and this appeal followed. We agree with the district court's denial of the motion for judgment n.o.v., but would grant the motion for a new trial, and the remaining contention for counsel fees has no relevancy in the disposition of this case.

After much long distance correspondence between the parties, plaintiffs, designers and builders of pleasure boats in California, by letter of January 11, 1962, advised defendant, a charter boat captain in the Virgin Islands, of what they felt would be "a realistic and fair completed construction cost" of a 51-foot charter catamaran. A portion of the letter stated:

Here is a breakdown of what we feel to be a realistic and fair completed construction cost of this catamaran if built by our yard:

1. Lumber & materials $5,000

2. Fiberglass, resins & plastics $1,500

3. Interior hardware, equipment &

fixtures $2,000

4. Marine hardware $2,000

5. Rigging $555

6. Working sails $1,000

7. Spars $1,700

8. Cushions & mattresses $700

9. Generator (diesel) $900

10. Edison steering equipment $900

$16,250

Labour

1. 4 boat builders (including taxes ...


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