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Facto v. Pantagis

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 20, 2006, Argued ; January 29, 2007, Decided

DOCKET NO. A-1153-05T1

Opinion

 [**60]  [*228]  The opinion of the court was delivered by

SKILLMAN, P.J.A.D.

This is a breach of contract action arising out of the cancellation of a wedding reception due to a power failure.

Plaintiffs contracted with defendant Snuffy Pantagis Ent., Inc., t/a Pantagis Renaissance, a banquet hall in Scotch Plains, for a wedding reception for 150 people, to be held between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday, August 3, 2002. The total contract price was $ 10,578, all of which was to be paid in advance. The contract contained a force majeure clause, which stated: "Snuffy's will be excused from performance under this contract if it is prevented from doing so by an act of God (e.g., flood, power failure, etc.), or other unforeseen events or [***2]  circumstances."

 [*229]  Less than forty-five minutes after the reception began, there was a power failure in the area where the Pantagis Renaissance is located. At the time, plaintiffs were in an upstairs room with the bridal party, and their guests were downstairs being served alcoholic beverages and hors d'oeuvres. The power failure caused all the lights, except emergency lights, to go out and the air conditioning system to shut off. In addition, the band plaintiffs had hired for the reception refused to play without lights or the electricity required to operate their instruments, and the lack of lighting impeded the wedding photographer and videographer from taking pictures.

On the day of the reception, the temperature was in the upper 80s or low 90s and the humidity was high. As a result, plaintiffs and their guests became extremely uncomfortable within a short time after the power failure. According to plaintiffs, some of the guests resorted to pouring water over their heads to keep cool.

When it became evident that electricity would not be restored quickly, the manager of the Pantagis Renaissance offered to reschedule the reception. However, many of plaintiffs' guests had traveled [***3]  a substantial distance to attend the wedding and would not have been able to return on another date. Therefore, plaintiffs declined the offer.

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390 N.J. Super. 227 *; 915 A.2d 59 **; 2007 N.J. Super. LEXIS 22 ***

LEO FACTO AND ELIZABETH FACTO, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS, v. SNUFFY PANTAGIS, PANTAGIS RENAISSANCE AND SNUFFY PANTAGIS ENT., INC., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.

Subsequent History: Approved for Publication January 29, 2007.  [***1]  Approved for Publication January 29, 2007.

Prior History: On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Docket No. L-2827-04.

CORE TERMS

power failure, force majeure, plaintiffs', relieved, wedding reception, circumstances, impracticable, banquet, guests, unforeseen event, act of god, reception, excused, electricity, lights

Contracts Law, Standards of Performance, Impossibility of Performance, General Overview, Contract Interpretation, Remedies, Equitable Relief, Quantum Meruit