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Fostveit v. Poplin

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-27-2013
Case #: A145352
Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Sercombe, J.; and Hadlock, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145352.pdf

Contract Law: A trial court does not err when it properly weighs the evidence on the record, and find that a party substantially performed on the contract.

Defendant owners of a self storage unit (Owners) appeal the trial court's decision to award damages to defendant Fostveit, a general contractor, for his claims of foreclosure of a construction lien, breach of contract, and attorney's fees. Owners contracted with Fostveit to build three buildings at their self-storage facility. About seven months after the contract was executed, Owners found some water intruding in the new storage units, and asked Fostveit to stop work on the site. Fostveit recorded a construction lien for the unpaid balance on the contract and filed suit both to foreclose on the lien and for breach of contract. Owners defended and counterclaimed on the grounds that Fostveit breached in defective workmanship. On appeal, Owners claim the trial court erred in shifting the burden of proof to them, the defendants, on the issue of whether Fostveit substantially performed under the contract. The Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not impermissibly shift the burden of proof, and it properly weighed the evidence presented by both parties. Affirmed.