Law and Politics

Start Free Trial

Larry Browneller took his 1963 Chevy sports car to Hubert (“Debtor”), a semi-retired mechanic, and requested that Debtor repair the car and make it show-worthy. Debtor told him that he could not make it “show quality,” but Larry insisted that Hubert do “a damn good job.” Debtor kept the car and worked on it for several years with Larry’s knowledge. When Hubert finished the work, Larry refused to pay the bill, alleging that it was not “show quality” as originally requested. Did the Court agree with Browneller’s argument that Debtor did not produce a car that was “show quality”?

The court ruled that because Browneller and Debtor had made an oral contract about which they disagreed, Debtor was not in breach of contract. Debtor's objection was sustained and Browneller's claim was dismissed.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At issue in the court case of Larry Browneller against Hubert Dorel Plankenhorn (Debtor) was not whether the 1963 Chevrolet Impala that Debtor was working on would be "showy," because when they initiated their agreement, Debtor said at the outset that the car could not be made showy. In reply,...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

At issue in the court case of Larry Browneller against Hubert Dorel Plankenhorn (Debtor) was not whether the 1963 Chevrolet Impala that Debtor was working on would be "showy," because when they initiated their agreement, Debtor said at the outset that the car could not be made showy. In reply, Browneller said that he wanted a "damned good job," but the precise implications of what that meant were not clearly delineated. In Debtor's mind, Browneller wanted a car that was merely presentable, while Browneller had in mind to show the car at small amateur car shows.

Debtor worked on the car for several years, using parts that Browneller supplied. Since the parts were salvaged from several different cars with different identification numbers, this automatically precluded it from being a show-class car. The work progressed, and when it was finished, Browneller picked the car up without complaints. He had, in fact, paid Debtor almost $11,000 in installments over the years.

Browneller did not mention the problems that provoked the lawsuit until a week after he had taken possession of the car. At that time, he complained to Debtor about the paint job, although he had approved it when he picked it up. Later at trial, he voiced other complaints about the steering wheel, the transmission, and the air conditioning.

Because of what he perceived as flaws that he noticed later in the car, Browneller filed a claim of $7,000 against Debtor. This was filed in bankruptcy court, as Debtor had filed for bankruptcy. Browneller said that Debtor was guilty of negligence or breach of contract because the car had not been delivered as requested.

Because there was only an oral contract between Browneller and Debtor, the court ruled that Debtor was not in breach of contract because an actual contract did not exist. Debtor proved that a valid claim did not exist.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on