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U.S. Supreme Court

Guerini Stone Co. v. Carlin Construction Co., 240 U.S. 264 (1916)

Guerini Stone Company v. P. J. Carlin Construction Company

No. 78

Argued November 12, 1915

Decided February 21, 1916

240 U.S. 264


In the case of subcontracts, as in other cases of written agreements, a reference to an extraneous writing for a particular purpose makes it a part of the agreement for that purpose only.

In this case, held that the general contract between the government and the contractor was not admissible as against a subcontractor except for the specific purpose mentioned in the subcontract, to-wit, showing what drawings and specifications were referred to therein, nor was the subcontractor bound by provisions in the general contract so as to be obliged to submit to delays resulting from the action of the government permitted by the original contract.

Where a contractor agrees with a subcontractor to provide labor and materials not included in the subcontract, he assumes an obligation not conditioned on the question of his fault, and whether the delay in supplying such labor and materials be attributable to him or to the exercise by the owner of a right reserved by the principal contract, he remains liable under the subcontract.

In this case, held that, although the principal contract between the government and the contractor gave the government the right to suspend, as the contractor had not safeguarded himself by incorporating that provision into the subcontract, he was not relieved from the damages caused the subcontractor by such suspension.

In estimating profits that might be realized if a building contract had been proceeded with in the ordinary manner to completion, no more definite and certain method can be adopted than to deduct from the contract price the probable cost of furnishing the materials and doing the work.

A provision in a subcontract requiring the contractor to make monthly payments not exceeding 85% of cost of work erected cannot be construed to require precisely that percentage, nor can a provision that the subcontractor furnish requisitions of the amount to be paid make the subcontractor sole judge of the amount it is entitled chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 240 U. S. 265

to receive. Such provision must receive reasonable construction.

Where the form of a request to instruct is such that compliance with it might mislead the jury, there is no error in refusing it.

The facts, which involve the rights and liabilities of a subcontractor on government work, are stated in the opinion.

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