The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a small claims judgment in favor of a concrete company regarding whether the company had to follow through on replacing a driveway for a customer who was unhappy with the work a year later.
David Vance hired Rock Solid Concrete Inc. and Francisco Lozano to do concrete work at his home in the summer of 2009. In December 2010, Vance complained that the driveway had some pitting and scaling. Rock Solid believed their work was not defective and a third-party inspected the driveway. In a non-binding decision, the concrete testing company determined that the damage was due to indirect salt application when snow would melt from cars onto the driveway.
Rock Solid offered to power-wash the driveway and seal it as a one-time customer accommodation, but Vance rejected the offer. In June 2011, the two parties agreed that Rock Solid would try to replace the driveway by the end of August 2011. When no work had begun by that date and the company didn’t respond to Vance’s inquiries, he filed suit in September 2011.
The small claims court found the company made a goodwill gesture that wasn’t an enforceable contract, but the Court of Appeals ruled the parties entered into an enforceable agreement. The agreement settled their dispute as to the cause of the damage to the driveway and the agreement’s purpose was to avoid litigation, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in David Vance v. Francisco Lozano, et al., 02A03-1203-SC-142.
The settlement of a doubtful claim is sufficient consideration for a compromise if the claim is made fairly and in good faith, even if possibly meritless, she continued. There’s no evidence that Vance hasn’t acted fairly or in good faith.