Contract analysis scenario one—damages determination: Alfred and Barbara own adjoining farms in Dry County, an area where all agriculture requires irrigation. Alfred bought a well-drilling rig and drilled a 400-foot well from which he drew drinking water. Barbara needed no additional irrigation water, but in January 1985, she asked Alfred on what terms he would drill a well near her house to supply better-tasting drinking water than the county water she has been using for years. Alfred said that because he had never before drilled a well for hire, he would charge Barbara only $10 per foot, about one dollar more than his expected cost. Alfred said that he would drill to a maximum depth of 600 feet, which is the deepest his rig could reach. Barbara said, “OK—as long as you can guarantee completion by June 1, we have a deal.” Alfred agreed, and he asked for $3,500 in advance, with any further payment or refund to be made on completion. Barbara said, “OK,” and she paid Alfred $3,500.
Alfred started to drill on May 1. He had reached a depth of 200 feet on May 10 when his drill struck rock and broke, plugging the hole. The accident was unavoidable. It had cost Alfred $12 per foot to drill this 200 feet. Alfred said he would not charge Barbara for drilling the useless hole in the ground, but he would have to start a new well close by and could not promise its completion before July 1.
Barbara, annoyed by Alfred’s failure, refused to let him start another well. On June 1, she contracted with Carl to drill a well. Carl agreed to drill to a maximum depth of 350 feet for $4,500, which Barbara also paid in advance, but Carl could not start drilling until October 1. He completed drilling and struck water at 300 feet on October 30.
In July, Barbara sued Alfred, seeking to recover her $3,500 paid to Alfred, plus the $4,500 paid to Carl.
On August 1, Dry County’s dam failed, thus reducing the amount of water available for irrigation. Barbara lost her apple crop worth $15,000. The loss could have been avoided by pumping from Barbara’s well if it had been operational by August 1. Barbara amended her complaint to add the $15,000 loss.
In a minimum of a 1,000-word contract analysis, discuss Barbara’s suit against Alfred. What are Barbara’s rights, and what damages, if any, will she recover?
Cite any direct quotes or paraphrased material from outside source