Bright v. Ganas

171 Md. 493 (1937)

 

RULE:

A plaintiff, having shown without contradiction an express contract, is not entitled to recover on a quantum meruit.

FACTS:

Ganas and Darden made an oral agreement whereby Ganas was to live with Darden and act as Darden's servant, serving him faithfully for the remainder of Darden's life, in exchange for $20,000 upon Darden's death. Darden died before having a provision made in his will stating the intention for the payment to Ganas, and previous to Darden's death, Darden's wife found a letter on her bed from Ganas confessing feelings towards her. Upon learning of the letter, and without any mandate in the will, the executor of Darden's estate refused to pay Ganas the promised $20,000.

ISSUE:

Must a condition be met before performance of a contract is required?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court ruled that the record showed that the servant was entitled to a verdict for the amount sued for or nothing at all. The court then ruled that because the servant showed, without contradiction, an express contract, he was not entitled to recover on a quantum meruit theory. The court ruled that the servant's unfaithfulness and disloyalty, as evidenced by his making uninvited romantic advances on the decedent's wife, worked as a forfeiture of his right to compensation.

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