Irving Kaufman & another Vs. Leith L. Leard & others, 356 Mass. 163

06/05/1969 Posted By: Corwin & Corwin LLP

Court: SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS
Citation: 356 Mass.163
Parties: IRVING KAUFMAN & another vs. LEITH L. LEARD & others.
County: Middlesex
Hearing Date: March 7, 1969
Decision Date: June 5, 1969
Judges: WILKINS, C.J., SPALDING, WHITTEMORE, CUTTER, & KIRK, JJ.

An architect engaged by the owner of a house for a remodeling thereof was a general agent of the owner for that purpose, and contractors hired by the architect for the work were not bound by a limitation of cost imposed by instructions of the owner to the architect in the absence of anything putting the contractors on notice of such limitation on the architect's apparent authority. [167-168] On the facts, where the cost of remodeling a house greatly exceeded a maximum cost imposed by instructions of the owner to the architect and the owner was liable to the contractors engaged by the architect for the full amount of the contractors' charges, it was held that the architect was liable to the owner for the excess of cost over such maximum, but that the architect would be entitled to an offset consisting of what, according to established standards of the architectural profession, would be a reasonable margin of excess cost plus the architect's fee, up to the amount of increased value added to the house by the excess cost. [170-171] An architect engaged by the owner of a house for a remodeling thereof and liable to the owner by reason of cost incurred by the owner greatly in excess of a maximum cost imposed by the owner in instructions to the architect, upon paying the owner, would be entitled to take credit for an unpaid balance of his architectural fee. [171] An architect engaged by the owner of a house for a remodeling thereof had authority to hire a painter on a time and materials basis. [172] In a suit in equity under G. L. c. 214, Section 3 (3), by the owner of a house against an architect and contractors engaged for a remodelingthereof, where the architect and one contractor appealed from a decree ordering the owner to pay the contractors certain amounts even though they were greatly in excess of a maximum cost imposed by the owner in instructions to the architect, and ordering the architect to pay the owner a certain amount by reason of the excessive cost, it was held that if, upon a rehearing ordered, the amount due from the owner to the appellant contractor should be increased, a corresponding increase should be made in the amount to be paid by the architect to the owner notwithstanding that the owner had not appealed from the decree. [173] Page 164

BILL IN EQUITY filed in the Superior Court on October 24, 1962.

The suit was heard by Kalus, J., on a master's report.

Carl M. Sapers for Arthur H. Brooks, Jr.