Knarles and Barkley are father and son respectively. Barkley is seventeen years old.
They operate a facilities maintenance company that regularly does business in the
District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The company is based in Maryland. They
have a number of contracts with building owners where they have agreed to provide
building maintenance to both residential and commercial buildings within the three
jurisdictions already mentioned. They receive a monthly payment of $2,000 to $4,000
depending upon the size of the building. They bill the owners for any equipment of a
substantial nature that has to be replaced. Because of Knarles' long-term relationships
with building owners, these contracts that were once in writing are generally renewed
without a new written agreement. Often Knarles and Barkley will replace outdated and
broken equipment such as water heaters and boilers that are part of a building's heating
system. Further, as part of maintenance they regularly wash windows, remove snow and
do touch-up painting as required.
Knarles and Barkley have four full-time employees. One of the employees is a licensed
plumber in the District of Columbia. His yearly license renewal is paid by the firm as part
of an employment agreement that was negotiated four years ago. That agreement was
in writing and was for a period of two years. It was the second such agreement entered
into between said employee and Knarles and Barkley. The license, through inadvertence
on the part of Barkley, was not renewed this year. In the past Knarles had taken care of
this, but he had assigned this duty to his son so he might gain experience in what was
involved in the license renewal process.
While Knarles is away in Hawaii at a ?green facilities maintenance trade show,? Barkley
is approached by a building owner, Ian Chetum, in northern Virginia who has heard of
their excellent reputation. Barkley sends Chetum a standard agreement signed by
Barkley. Chetum signs it and returns it to Barkley with a check for the first month.
Chetum has an immediate need for the services of Knarles and Barkley as it is the
middle of February and his building is without heat. Barkley sends the plumber and
another worker to Chetum?s building. While inspecting the non-operating boiler at
Chetum?s building, the plumber notices that the boiler is one that has been recalled by
the manufacturer, Housewarm, because of a defect that does not allow all the carbon
monoxide produced by the boiler to vent properly. This boiler was purchased by Chetum
at a salvage yard and replaced another non-operating boiler. Further, the boiler has
been improperly installed, according to the plumber. The plumber notifies Barkley of the
problems with the boiler and Barkley immediately notifies Chetum. Chetum tells Barkley
that he does not want to purchase a new boiler. He asks if the existing boiler can be
fixed to get through the winter months. Barkley calls his plumber who is still at the
Chetum site and asks the plumber about a quick fix for the winter. The plumber tells
Barkley he would not recommend the quick fix for the winter as this boiler is defective
and has been recalled. He also tells Barkley: ?You?re the boss and I can get it to work if
you really want me to.? Barkley replies: ?I don?t want you to fix it, the client does. He is
the customer and this business has been built on customer service.? Barkley calls
Chetum again and relays what his man on the site has said. Chetum replies: ?Fix It.?
Knarles returns from his conference shortly after the fix on the boiler has taken place. He
reads in the Washington Post on the first morning after his return that a number of
residents in a building in northern Virginia had become sickened and admitted to the
hospital for observation. It appeared that they were suffering from the effects of
exposure to carbon monoxide. These people all lived in the Chetum building. While at
lunch that day in a restaurant with his son and other members of the building
maintenance community, he tells all about what he read in the Post and says: ?Thank
God we don?t deal with that jerk Chetum. He is the shadiest operator in this region and
would shoot his mother for a buck. What a crook!? One of the people at lunch, Joe
Stucko, says: ?I agree with you. Chetum stole my plans for converting old HVAC
systems to new ones. I should sue him for stealing my ideas.?
Knarles later learns from his son of the agreement that he entered into with Chetum on
behalf of the firm. Knarles calls Chetum and tells him he wants no part of the agreement
and tells him he will messenger a check over to his office minus the charge for the work
already completed by the plumber. Chetum sues for breach of contract.
What legal issues are raised by this case? Please be creative in your thinking.
Remember that the issues that can be addressed deal with jurisdiction, torts and crimes,
contract formation, remedies, sales contracts, and agency. Address these issues in
paragraph form calling on what you have studied in the text and any outside sources.
This needs to be 2000 words or more original as well following APA Formatting.
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