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Olems Electric v. American Home Remodeling

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


February 16, 2011

OLEMS ELECTRIC, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
AMERICAN HOME REMODELING, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Essex County, Docket No. SC-245-10.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: February 3, 2011 - Decided: Before Judges Cuff and Fasciale.

Plaintiff Olems Electric (Olems) performed electrical work for defendant American Home Remodeling, Inc. (American) pursuant to an oral contract. American paid $3680 to Olems, which filed a complaint in the Special Civil Part for the difference between the amount billed and the amount received. Following a trial, the trial judge held that American owed Olems $2322. We reverse.

When the circumstances reveal that the parties have agreed to some but not all terms, but one party performs the work as agreed, recovery to the party performing the work is based on quasi-contract. Weichert Co. Realtors v. Ryan, 128 N.J. 427, 437 (1992). That is so because the circumstances demonstrate one party conferred a benefit on the other with a reasonable expectation of payment. Ibid. The party performing the work is entitled to recover the reasonable value of the work performed. Id. at 438.

Here, the trial judge found that plaintiff performed the work and that defendant expressed satisfaction with the work. The judge acknowledged discussions concerning price between the parties, found that defendant tendered $3680 to plaintiff, and then found that the amount charged by plaintiff was proof of the value of the services provided to defendant. A price list is not, however, proof of the value of the services provided, particularly when the evidence reveals no agreement on the price and payment for prior work at rates lower than the amount sought by plaintiff.

Having failed to offer any evidence of the value of the work other than testimony by plaintiff of the amount of money he sought for this particular job, plaintiff's proofs are insufficient to support his quasi-contract claim. We, therefore, reverse the February 17, 2010 judgment in favor of plaintiff.

Reversed.

20110216

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