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Law School Case Brief

London Bucket Co. v. Stewart - 314 Ky. 832, 237 S.W.2d 509 (1951)

Rule:

An equitable decree will not be adjudged unless the ordinary common law remedy of damages for a breach of contract is an inadequate and incomplete remedy for injuries arising from the failure to carry out its terms.

Facts:

Plaintiff motel owner sought specific performance of a contract to install a furnace. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff owner and decreed specific performance to properly furnish and install a heating system in the motel. Defendant challenged the decision.

Issue:

Is specific performance the proper remedy for injuries sustained by the plaintiff motel owner?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court reversed, holding that the motel owner did not state a cause of action for specific performance, and the furnace installer's demurrer should have been sustained. Generally, contracts for building construction would not be specifically enforced because ordinarily damages were an adequate remedy and because of the incapacity of the trial court to superintend the performance. The instant action was not within the exceptions to the rule or of the class where specific performance should be decreed.

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