KOSRAE STATE COURT
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as George vs. Kilafwasru, Kosrae St.(1998)
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CIVIL ACTION NO. 10-98
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
Trial in this case was held on July 22, 1998. Plaintiff was represented by Patrick Olter. Defendant was represented by himself even after this Court instructed Defendant to find Counsel to represent him. The Court issued its finding immediately after the trial. This decision now renders the Court's judgment and explains the basis for its judgment.
This is a case about the Plaintiff claiming that Defendant breached an oral contract. Sometimes in June of 1996 the Defendants received visitors from Kitti, Pohnpei State. The Defendant, who is also the Mayor of Malem municipality, approached the Plaintiff and asked if Plaintiff's house could be used. to house some of the people from Kitti. Plaintiff then allowed the Mayor/Defendant to use his house. Plaintiff Singkitchy George has filed a civil action against Defendant Maheta Kilafwasru, Mayor of Malem Municipality
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for breach of contract. Plaintiff claims that the Defendant had an oral agreement in which the Defendant agreed to fix his farm road in exchange for allowing Defendant's guests from Pohnpei to use his house for lodging for nine nights during June 1996. Plaintiff claims that his home was used for lodging the Pohnpei guests, but that the Defendant has failed to fix the farm road as agreed.
Plaintiff testified that the Defendant agreed to fix his farm road in exchange for providing housing for Pohnpeian guests for the June 6 Malem Celebration Day in 1996. Defendant testified that he did not agree to fix the farm road. Instead, Defendant testified that he agreed to install electricity and water connection to the house. There is no dispute that electricity and the water connection were installed in the Plaintiff's home. However, evidence was submitted that Plaintiff assisted the Defendant in the electrical connections by coordinating assistance from Kosrae Utility Authority. Plaintiff also claims, and this Court recognizes, that it is the responsibility and duty of the municipalities to provide water connections to the homes in their respective municipality. The Court agrees that it was a preexisting duty of Malem Municipality to provide a water connection to the Plaintiff's home in any event, and therefore, the installation of the water connection to Plaintiff's house cannot be considered part of the bargain between the parties. The Court further recognizes that the municipalities generally maintain the farm roads in usable condition.
The Court accepts Plaintiff's testimony regarding the oral
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agreement between the parties and finds that the Defendant agreed to fix the farm road in exchange for use of Plaintiff's home for lodging of the Pohnpeian guests during June 1996.
II. LEGAL ANALYSIS.
A contract is a promise between two parties for the future performance of mutual obligations which the law will enforce in some way. For the promise to be enforceable, there must be an offer and an acceptance, definite terms, and consideration for the promise (that which the performance is exchanged for). When one party fails to perform their promise, there is a breach of contract. Ponape Constr. Co. v. Pohnnei, 6 FSM Intrm. 114, 123 (Pon. 1993). The Court finds that there was an oral agreement between the Plaintiff and Defendant. Plaintiff agreed to provide his home as lodging to Pohnpeian guests for nine days during June 1996. Defendant agreed to fix the farm road leading to Plaintiff's home. The Plaintiff fulfilled his part of the agreement. Defendant has breached the contract.
In determining whether the terms of a contract should be enforced, the Court will consider the parties' justified expectations and any forfeiture that would result if enforcement were denied. Falcam v. FSM, 3 FSM Intrm.194, 197-198 (Pon.1987). The Court finds that the Plaintiff was justified in expecting the Defendant to perform his agreement to fix the farm road, since the Defendant maintains equipment and labor resources which are `sufficient to fix the farm road. Furthermore, the farm road may continue to remain in bad condition unless the contract is enforced.
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The equitable remedy of specific performance is one where the court orders a breaching party to do that which he has agreed to do, thereby rendering the non-breaching party the exact benefit which he expected. The remedy is available when money damages are inadequate compensation for the plaintiff, when damages cannot be computed or when a substitute cannot be purchased. Ponape Co. v. Pohnpei, 6 FSM Intrm. 114, 126 (Pon. 1993). In this case, Plaintiff demands from Defendant 9 day x $85 = $765.00 as the fair compensation. The Defendant begged this Court to consider the fact that Malem does not have money. Furthermore, the definiteness of the contract terms and the ease or difficulty of enforcement or supervision must be considered before awarding specific performance damages. Pohnpei v. Ponape Constr. Co., 7 FSM Intrm. 613, 623 (App. 1996). The Court holds that in this case, specific performance damages are appropriate. By ordering specific performance, the Plaintiff, who is the non-breaching party, will receive the exact benefit which he expected. The contract terms for specific performance are definite enough and are easily monitored in this case, therefore specific performance damages are appropriate.
The Court enters judgment for the Plaintiff and orders specific performance of the agreement. Defendant is ordered to fix the subject farm road within thirty days (30) of entry of this order. If Defendant fails to fix the farm road within the thirty days (30) as ordered, the Plaintiff may file a motion to modify the judgment to impose monetary damages.
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Pursuant to the finding of fact and legal analysis set forth above, the Court finds that the Defendant breached the oral agreement between himself as the Mayor of Malem Municipality and the Plaintiff.
Judgment for the Plaintiff.
SO ORDERED this 22nd day of July 1998.
Aliksa B. Aliksa
Acting Chief Justice
ENTERED this 28th day of July 1998.
Chief Clerk of Court