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Bowman Construction Co., Inc. v. LaValla Sand & Gravel Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

November 25, 2013

Bowman Construction Co., Inc., Respondent,
v.
LaValla Sand & Gravel, Inc., et al., Appellants.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Lake of the Woods County District Court File No. 39-CV-12-34

Steven A. Nelson, International Falls, Minnesota (for respondent)

Alan B. Fish, Dennis H. Ingold, Alan B. Fish, P.A., Roseau, Minnesota (for appellants)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Worke, Judge; and Connolly, Judge.

CONNOLLY, Judge

Appellants challenge the denial of their motion for amended findings of fact and conclusions of law or for a new trial on the ground that the district court erred in concluding that, because an oral contract between the parties was breached when appellants declined to purchase rock respondent had blasted, appellants owed respondent a sum of money for the rock. Because reasonable evidence in the record supports the finding that an oral contract for purchase of the rock existed between the parties, we affirm.

FACTS

In 2008, respondent Bowman Construction Co. entered into an oral contract with appellants LaValla Sand & Gravel Inc., and Mark LaValla (collectively, appellant). The contract provided that respondent would arrange for blasting bedrock from a quarry leased by appellant and would purchase the rock it had blasted. Respondent hired Viking Explosives to blast the bedrock. A disagreement between the parties resulted in respondent refusing to pay appellant $5, 221.59.

In 2009, the parties entered into another oral contract. This contract also provided that respondent would arrange for blasting the bedrock; it further provided that respondent would pay $1.35 per cubic yard for any blasted rock respondent removed from the quarry and that appellant would pay respondent $4.50 per cubic yard for any remaining blasted rock that appellant wanted to remove. The $4.50 charge was a markup on the price respondent paid Viking Explosives to do the blasting. After respondent removed the blasted rock it wanted, about 9, 000 cubic yards remained at the quarry. Appellant did not take this rock and did not pay respondent for it.

In 2011, appellant wanted more rock blasted from the quarry and hired another company, which, like respondent, hired Viking Explosives to do the blasting. This company imposed a smaller markup on Viking Explosives' charge than respondent had imposed, so appellant was able to buy the blasted rock more cheaply than it could be bought from respondent.

Respondent brought this action, alleging it was owed $4.50 per cubic yard for 9, 527 cubic yards of blasted rock left in the quarry after the 2009 blast. Appellant counterclaimed for the $5, 221.59 respondent had not paid after the 2008 blast.

During the trial, appellant answered "Yes" when asked if one advantage of the transaction with respondent was that it would provide rock that appellant could market. Appellant also indicated its intent to pay respondent for the blasted rock by answering "Yes" when asked if "the agreed upon price that [it] would pay ...


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