Clark v. West

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Clark v. West
Court New York Court of Appeals
Citation 193 N.Y. 349; 86 N.E. 1
Date decided November 10, 1908
Appealed from New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division

Facts

Clark contracted with West in the state of New York. Mr. Clark would write a series of corporate law books for Mr. West (today part of https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en ).

The contract said that West would pay Clark $2 per page and if he abstains from intoxicating liquor during the time of the contract, West would pay an additional $4 per page to Clark. After the books were written, West didn't pay the additional $4 per page to Clark. West alleged that Clark didn't fulfill his part of the bargain because he drank liquor during the contract period.

Procedural History

Clark sued West, demanding the $6/page. Clark claimed that West had waived the intoxication proviso.

West sought dismissal of Clark's claim.

Clark won in the trial court. However, Clark lost in the appellate court.

Issues

Was the stipulation to avoid alcohol consideration for the contract, or one of its conditions which can be expressly waived?

Was the contractual stipulation that Clark abstain from liquor implicitly waived by West?

Holding

The stipulation was apparently waived by West.

If a party expressly waives the other party's performance of a specific contract condition, that party can't later rely on that condition to hold the other party in breach of contract.

Judgment

Reversed the Appellate Division

Reasons

The consideration in the contract was the books, not the abstinence, by Clark. West waived the abstinence provision of the contract.

The words and actions of the insurer reasonably justify the conclusion that it intended to abandon the particular defense afterwards relied upon, an the waiver can never be revoked.

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