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Specific Performance

Supervision Of Performance

As a general rule, equity will not order acts that it cannot supervise. In many instances, specific performance is denied where courts would be unduly burdened with the task of supervising the performance. Supervision is a particular problem in building or repair contracts because the court lacks the technical expertise, means, or agencies to learn exactly what tasks the contractor is performing or whether she is performing them properly.

There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. If the plans for the building are clearly defined, or if there has been sufficient partial performance so that supervision of the remainder is not difficult, the court might grant specific performance for its completion. An attempt to enforce a building repair contract is more problematic for the court. It must initially determine what repairs are to be made and the time within which they are to be performed; then it must decide whether there has been substantial performance and, if not, whether the defendant had any excuse. Usually an adequate remedy at law exists in the form of damages that represent the excess of the construction cost paid over the original contract price. Where damages are inadequate, however, the court can order specific performance.

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