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Law School Case Brief

Acme Mkts. v. Fed. Armored Express - 437 Pa. Super. 41, 648 A.2d 1218 (1994)


To the extent that the non-occurrence of a condition would cause disproportionate forfeiture, a court may excuse the non-occurrence of that condition unless its occurrence was a material part of the agreed exchange.


Plaintiff Acme filed a breach of contract action against defendant armored car service after it alleged that a robber stole one of its cash bags in defendant’s possession and defendant refused to reimburse plaintiff. Defendant was granted summary judgment based on a contract provision that required plaintiff to sign a receipt before it retained possession of the cash bag. Plaintiff appealed.


Did the trial court err in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant due to the absence of receipt for retaining the possession of the cash bag?




The court reversed and remanded, holding that the receipt provision was a condition precedent, but that it could be excused if it was not a material part of the contract, as the law abhorred forfeitures. The court ordered an evidentiary hearing on remand to determine the purpose of the receipt requirement and to weigh its materiality against plaintiff's loss.

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