QUINN V. UNITED STATES, 99 U. S. 30 (1878)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Quinn v. United States, 99 U.S. 30 (1878)

Quinn v. United States

99 U.S. 30


A contract between the United States and A. for his removal of the rock at the entrance of a certain harbor provided that he should complete the work at a specified time and that if he should delay or be unable to proceed with it in accordance with the contract, the officer in charge might terminate the contract and employ others to complete the work, deducting expenses from any money due or owing to A., who was also to be responsible for any damages caused to others by his delay or noncompliance. Payment upon the completion and acceptance of the several sections was to be made, reserving ten percent therefrom until the completion and acceptance of the whole work. The work was not completed at the specified time, chiefly in consequence of the failure of a third party to deliver to A. the necessary explosive, and the officer in charge terminated the contract, but the evidence does not show that his action was wrongful. The work was completed by other parties at much lower terms. A. brought suit against the United States. Held that, the United States having sustained no lose by the failure of A., he is entitled to the reserved ten percent, but not to the profits that he would have made had he performed the contract, nor to the difference between the contract price and that at which the work was completed by others.

The facts are sufficiently stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 99 U. S. 31

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