Blogging about logging . . .

The plaintiffs in Garziano v. Louisiana Log Home, Inc. made 88 percent of the installment payments for a build-it-yourself log cabin kit, and then defaulted.  No. 13-60291 (May 29, 2014, unpublished).  The log cabin company won summary judgment against several contract and tort claims by the purchasers.  Before final judgment was entered, however, it came to light that the company had resold several of the logs and actually was ahead on the transaction overall.  The district court denied a Rule 59(e) motion about this information and entered judgment.  The Fifth Circuit reversed, finding that the district court should not have focused on plaintiffs’ erroneous characterization of the issue as “unjust enrichment,” and by doing so, “essentially granted LLH an impermissible double recovery—making the earnest money provision an unenforceable penalty.”  The Court remanded “with instructions for the district court to make findings on the amount of actual damages that LLH suffered and to amend the judgment to remit to the Garzianos any monies paid to LLH under the contract that were in excess of LLH’s actual damages.”  (The defendant offers several packages for log homes, all of which look elegant and cost-effective to this author.)

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