This is an action for breach of contract in which plaintiff, George Seitz, seeks damages from defendant, Mark-O-Lite Sign Contractors, Inc., in the amount of $7,200.
At trial, counsel for the parties agreed to submit the dispute to the court's determination based on the following stipulated facts:
1. Prior to December 1983, plaintiff submitted a bid to the Ocean County Center for the Arts on a contract involving renovations to the Strand Theater in Lakewood, New Jersey.
2. A portion of the Strand Theater project involved the restoration and replacement of a neon sign marquee.
3. Plaintiff was the low bidder on the Strand project.
4. Plaintiff first spoke with a representative of defendant in December 1983, and received a verbal estimate of from $10,000 to $12,000 for the sign work required in connection with the Strand project.
5. No written estimate was rendered by defendant and no contract was executed by plaintiff and defendant as of the end of 1983.
6. Plaintiff signed a contract for the Strand Theater renovation with the Ocean County Center for the Arts on December 26, 1983.
7. Items 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the contract pertain to the sign work and totalled $19,500 of the total contract price for the Strand Theater project of $51,200.
8. Plaintiff obtained quotations from other sign companies in early 1984, including one from Garden State Sign Company dated January 20, 1984, in the amount of $20,228.
9. Plaintiff had further discussions with defendant and on April 18, 1984, a contract was executed between the parties in the total amount of $12,800 for the sign work. On that date plaintiff gave defendant a deposit check in the amount of $3,200.
10. The contract between the parties contained a provision in paragraph (2) which reads as follows: "The Company shall not be liable for any failure in the performance of its obligation under this agreement which may result from strikes or acts of labor union, fires, floods, earthquakes, or acts of God, or other conditions or contingencies beyond its control."
11. Within a few days of the execution of the contract, defendant discovered that its expert sheet metal worker, Al Jorgenson, a diabetic, was required to enter the hospital and would be unable to work for an unknown period of time. Jorgenson was the only employee of defendant ...