Plaintiff Wins Recovery in Quantum Meruit for Heating and Cooling Services Provided

Capital Heat, Inc. v. Buchheit, 848 N.Y.S.2d 481 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007)

In this case, the court awarded recovery in quantum meruit to plaintiff for heating and cooling services it had provided at the defendant’s residence.  The court explained that:  (i) by issuing invoices, (ii) the plaintiff established an expectation that it would receive payment for its services, (iii) the invoices established the reasonable value of those services, and (iv) the defendant did not dispute that the plaintiff performed the heating and cooling work in good faith or of acceptable quality.

The court rejected the homeowner’s argument that it was not liable for such payment because plaintiff was a sub-contractor.  The court reasoned that, although it is a firmly established principle that a property owner who contracts with a general contractor does not become liable to a subcontractor on a quasi contract theory unless it expressly consents to pay for the subcontractor’s performance, there was evidence that the defendant hired a project manager rather than a general contractor, and thus a fair interpretation of the evidence supported holding that there was no general contractor. 

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