Plaintiff Keyes hired defendant Candido to replace corral
posts and boards on her horse farm. The
defendant did not complete the job and plaintiff sued.
In this opinion, the trial court finds in favor of the
plaintiff and enters judgment in her favor for the amount she expended on the
This suit is the product of an agreement entered into by
the plaintiff property owner and the defendant contractor on or about May 24,
2000. The plaintiff operates a horse farm where she boards horses and gives
lessons and horseback rides.
The agreement is notable for what it does not say, rather
than for what it does say. In it, Ex. A, the defendant agrees to "Replace
all corall (sic) boards on entire farm and post where needed." The agreed
upon price was $5,300, of which the plaintiff paid $4,800.
The parties had their differences from the beginning of the
project and each blames the other for the cessation of work. The plaintiff
eventually hired someone else to do the work, but it appears that the
subsequently completed project was beyond the scope of the work contemplated by
the defendant and by the agreement.
As for the work actually done by the defendant, the
plaintiff claims it was not properly performed and that the materials used were
potentially harmful to the horses occupying the premises.
This four-count complaint resulted.
The plaintiff has abandoned her claim in the second count
that the Home Improvement Act (HIA) is applicable. The court was prepared to
find it was not. Since the third count alleges CUTPA violations arising from
violations of the HIA, this count must fail.
The fourth count alleges fraud but the plaintiff produced
no evidence to support such allegations
Counts 2, 3, and 4 are dismissed and judgment may enter for
the defendant on those counts.
The remaining first count alleges a breach of contract.
From the evidence produced at trial, the court concludes that the defendant's
work was deficient in many respects. In addition to the plaintiff, the court
heard Susan Doyle who was employed at the farm. She stated that the work was
sporadic and the rails fell to the ground, that the posts installed leaned over
and post holes were left in the ground.
Mr. Candido's testimony supports the claim that the TREX
boards he used did not hold up and had to be re-nailed. He claimed that he was
there daily and envisioned this project as a three-day job but it just
In any event, his walking off the job and ignoring the
plaintiff's calls do not indicate the behavior of one who has a contractual
The court concludes the defendant breached the contract
with the plaintiff by using inappropriate materials and installing the posts and
rails in an unworkmanlike manner. The plaintiff is therefore entitled to recover
for the sums she paid the defendant, $4,800, for the rental of the Bobcat
digger, $1,530, and for a dumpster to remove the abandoned unsuitable material,
The plaintiff's remaining claims for damages are not allowed as not having been proved. Judgment may enter for the plaintiff in the amount of $6,480 plus taxable costs.
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