Dove v. Rose Acre Farms 434 N.E.2d 931 (1982)

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Facts
  • Dove entered into a bonus system with his employer, including working 10 weeks straight without being late or absent
  • Dove’s performance was perfect for 9.5 weeks
  • Dove was sick for 2 days and so lost the bonus
  • He sued arguing, essentially, that his performance was nearly perfect and his failure was out of his control.
Issue
  • Can you have substantial performance of an entire contract where the contract stipulates you must complete in full?
Held
  • The P knew the terms of the contract when he agreed to them; if he thought they were unnecessarily harsh he could have refused to participate, but he didn’t.
  • Fighting tardiness and absenteeism was a central theme of the bonus program and so it can’t  be removed
  • There was no fraud on the part of Rose Acre Farms that would make the contract unfair
  • You can’t use ‘impossibility’ to sue for the value of the contract, only against paying damages
Relevance
  • This case is a demonstration of the principle that you can’t have substantial performance

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