Case 10-4 Fraudulent Misrepresentation
Esprit Log and Timber Frame Homes v. Wilcox
691 S.E.2d 344 (2010)
Ricky and Sherry Wilcox entered into a contract with Esprit Log and Timber Frame Homes (Fireside Log Homes), where Fireside agreed to manufacture and supply the Wilcoxes with the logs to build a manufactured home which could be assembled in seven to ten days (Esprit Log and Timber Frame Homes v. Wilcox, 2010). The Wilcoxes agreed to pay $128,600 for the material and services and tendered $65,000 as a deposit. The Wilcoxes ultimately paid Fireside $125,260. When the materials were delivered, they were not build-ready, and the project took an additional ten months and the Wilcoxes paid an additional $100,000 in materials, labor and expenses, as well as investment interest totaling $166,915.The Wilcoxes were able to sell the home after completion for $1,620,000. Fireside Log Homes sued Ricky Wilcox and Sherry Wilcox seeking damages for breach of contract. The Wilcoxes answered and asserted a counterclaim against Esprit Log and Don Mahaffy, d/b/a Fireside Log Homes (collectively, "Fireside") for breach of contract, negligent construction, conversion, fraud, and attorney fees. Fireside appealed.
The issue in this case is whether the court’s erred in overruling Fireside’s motion for a new trial. Fireside’s claim is that the verdict on Wilcoxes counterclaim was excessive and unsupported by evidence, the punitive damages were not supported by evidence, and the Wilcoxes received a double recovery.
Rule of Law The rule of law pertaining to this case involves fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract. “Under contract law, a plaintiff can recover against a defendant on the grounds of fraudulent misrepresentation if (1) a representation was made; (2) that was false; (3) that when made, the representation was known to be false or made recklessly without knowledge of its truth; (4) that it was made with the intention that the plaintiff rely on it; (5) that the plaintiff did rely on it; and (6) that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). It is the right of the defendant to appeal the verdict passed down by the court if it believes the decision was incorrect or faulty.
The application of law in this case is that when deciding if there was a breach of contract, the jury needed to decide if there was non-performance of a contractual duty. The original suit against the Wilcoxes is irrelevant, as per contract details, they did in fact pay $125,260 of the $128,600 agreed upon, including a $65,000 deposit. The countersuit filed by the Wilcoxes for breach of contract, negligent construction, conversion, fraud, and attorney fees is valid. By entering into a contract for specific goods, knowing that they were incapable of rendering a specific product, Fireside was committing fraudulent misrepresentation of services. The contract also stated an amount of time for completion, which was seven to ten days. This was grossly inaccurate, as Fireside did not have the