Clark v. Marsiglia – Case Brief
Clark v. Marsiglia, 1 Denio (N.Y.) 317, 43 Am. Dec. 670 (1845).
Facts: Clark (D) employed Marsiglia (P) to clean and repair paintings. Clark repudiated the order but Marsiglia completed the work and demanded full payment. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Marsiglia for the full contract price and Clark appealed.
Issue: Once a performance due under contract is begun, does the performing party have a right to render full performance if the other party repudiates the contract?
Holding and Rule: No. Once a party has begun to perform, that party does not have a right to continue in full performance after the contract has been canceled.
D violated this contract by requiring that P stop work before he was finished. At that point in time, D was liable for a breach for such damages as P would sustain in labor, materials, and under any other theory of contract damage recovery. However, P has no right to continue working and cannot claim damages for work performed after receiving the order to stop.
Disposition: Judgment reversed and a venire de novo awarded.
Notes: This case presents an example of the avoidable consequences rule of damages. A party cannot ignore the express wishes of the other party when told to cease performance in a service contract.
This case is often cited incorrectly as Clarke v. Marsiglia.