Shoreline Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Hafen, Docket No. A-1560-10T3 (Decided December 28, 2011 )

Award of balance of contract amount to electrical contractor upheld on appeal.

In this residential construction breach of contract case, Shoreline Electrical Contractors, Inc. (“Shoreline”) claimed to have completed all of its scope of work except for the installation of two electrical outlets. Shoreline claimed that the reason the outlets were not installed was that a wall had to be constructed by another contractor before the outlets could be placed in the wall. Numerous letters were written to the homeowner seeking permission to return to the property and complete the work, but no response was received, prompting the filing of a lawsuit. In opposition to the lawsuit, the homeowner claimed that Shoreline did not finish its work and that Shoreline’s completed work was not performed in a workmanlike manner. However, the homeowner offered no admissible evidence to support his claims. For example, the homeowner attempted to introduce records from the municipality’s bureau of inspections regarding a failed electrical inspection and a list of items that needed to be completed in order to pass inspection. However, due to the homeowner’s failure to comply with the Rules of Evidence, and specifically Rule 902, the court’s non-acceptance of such items was upheld on appeal. Accordingly, Shoreline was entitled to recover the balance due on the contract. There was no deduction for the cost of the outlets that were not installed due to the court’s finding that Shoreline would have installed the outlets had they been permitted to return to the property.

Case Law Alert - 2nd Qtr 2012