Syracuse Supply Co. v. State

Decision Date05 April 1985
Docket NumberNo. 64299,64299
Citation488 N.Y.S.2d 909,110 A.D.2d 1053
PartiesSYRACUSE SUPPLY COMPANY, Respondent, v. The STATE of New York, Appellant. (Claim)
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Robert Abrams, Atty. Gen. by Richard Dorsey, Asst. Atty. Gen., Albany, for appellant.

Hancock & Estabrook by Janet Callahan, Syracuse, for respondent.



Claimant was the low bidder for the rebuilding of a crane owned by the State. The Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded claimant the contract at the bid price of $56,346, and the contract was approved by the Comptroller (State Finance Law § 112). The State's specifications listed 23 items for repair, gave instructions as to parts, and provided for inspections to be made during performance of the work.

The crane was moved into claimant's facility in Syracuse and repair work began in November 1978. On disassembly of the crane, it was found that a number of parts believed to have been repairable required replacement. After DOT's representative made an inspection, he agreed to all changes in the contract necessary to complete the work and also requested that the undercarriage of the crane be cleaned by sandblasting rather than by steam, as was contemplated under the written contract.

The work was completed and the crane was returned to DOT in April 1979. Claimant then submitted two invoices, one for the bid amount and the other in the sum of $31,530 for additional costs incurred under the oral agreement. The State refused to pay the latter invoice, and at trial it offered no proof and contested only liability. The record indicates that it did not dispute the amount of the claim, and the trial court so found. The State appeals from a judgment entered against it at the Court of Claims in the sum of $31,530. We affirm.

The State may not escape liability solely on the basis that the contract's specifications required that variations to the contract be in writing and approved by the Commissioner (Bero Constr. Corp. v. New York State Thruway Auth., 41 A.D.2d 691, 342 N.Y.S.2d 503, lv. denied 33 N.Y.2d 516, 348 N.Y.S.2d 1028, 303 N.E.2d 708). DOT's representative had at least ostensible authority, upon which claimant relied, to authorize changes in the contract (see Greene v. Hellman, 51 N.Y.2d 197, 204, 433 N.Y.S.2d 75, 412 N.E.2d 1301) and the completed work was accepted by DOT. Whether claimant is entitled to recovery depends upon an interpretation of the written contract (Savin Bros. v. State of New York, 62 A.D.2d 511, 405 N.Y.S.2d 516, affd. on opn. below 47 N.Y.2d 934, 419 N.Y.S.2d 969, 393 N.E.2d 1041). The record fully supports the trial court's finding that the additional work arose from conditions which could not be anticipated under the written contract but was necessarily required in the contract's performance (see Shields v. City of New York, 84 App.Div. 502, 82 N.Y.S. 1020). Thus the oral modifications of...

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2 cases
  • Green Island Const. Co. Inc. v. County of Chenango
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • February 2, 1995
    ...the actual quantities would overrun the estimated quantities" and, hence, cannot escape liability (citing Syracuse Supply Co. v. State of New York, 110 A.D.2d 1053, 488 N.Y.S.2d 909, lv. denied 65 N.Y.2d 603, 492 N.Y.S.2d 1025, 482 N.E.2d 567), the record before us simply does not substanti......
  • Syracuse Supply Company v. State, 64299
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • June 13, 1985
    ...603, 482 N.E.2d 567 Syracuse Supply Company v. State (Claim No. 64299) NO. 575 COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK June 13, 1985 488 N.Y.S.2d 909, 110 A.D.2d 1053 MOTION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL Denied. ...

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