Lesson Plans - Law

The Case of: Finishing Too Late

Fact Situation:

A Contract Dispute - Simplified Mock Trail Image credit State of Minnesota
A Thai Road Building Company (The Road Builder) had a Thai contract to build a road which included toll booths to collect fares from drivers using the new road.

The road and toll booths had to be completed within 1 year or The Road Builder would pay a fine for the delay.
The Road Builder chose a British toll booth model offered in a sales catalogue from a Thai supplier (The Sales Company) and signed an order form for the purchase.
The order form was sent to the British manufacturer (The Manufacturer) which sent back a contract in English describing the toll booths, the cost, the terms of payment, and the guaranteed delivery date.
(The Contract)) terms included a non refundable deposit and payment in full within 60 days.
The Road Builder signed The Contract and sent the deposit to the The Manufacturer.

The Manufacturer did not receive full payment within the 60 days and notified The Road Builder by e-mail with a copy to The Sales Company that the toll booths order would be cancelled unless full payment was received within 15 days.

The Sales Company sent an e-mail in Thai to The Road Builder warning them that if payment was not made within the 15 days The Manufacturer could cancel the order and the deposit would not be returned. The e-mail added that the guaranteed delivery date could also be delayed.
The Road Builder did not make the deadline of 15 days but did make the full payment to The Manufacturer 30 days later or 45 days later than The Contract deadline for payment.

The Manufacturer confirmed, by e-mail, the receipt of the payment to both The Road Builder and The Sales Company.
The e-mail included a new guaranteed delivery date for the toll booths that was later than the deadline The Road Builder needed to complete the road with the Toll Booths installed.
The Road Builder did not raise that fact to either The Sales Company or The Manufacture.

The Road Builder completed the road on time, but was 15 days late installing the toll booths.

The Road Builder was fined for being late and sued The Sales Company.
The Road Builder claimed:

•   The Sales Company was responsbile for getting the toll booths to Thailand on time, because they sold them.
•   The delay in completing the road was caused by the late arrival of the toll booths so it wasn’t their fault.
•   The Contract with The Manufacturer was in English and The Road Builder did not understand it.

The Sales Company answered:

•   The role of The Sales Company was to process the sales order not to manufacture the toll booths and deliver them to Thailand.
•   The Contract was a standard form in English, which The Road Builder had the time, resources and incentive to translate or question.
•   The delivery date was written in The Contract not in the sales order.
•   Payment in full was not made to The Manufacturer by The Road Builder as required in The Contract.
•   The Sales Company had warned The Road Builder in an e-mail written in Thai that if full payment was not made within 15 days the order would be cancelled and they would loose the deposit.
•   The Road Builder still delayed making full payment for another 30 days.
•   The decision to change the delivery date was made by The Manufacturer according to The Contract and not by The Sales Company.
•   Therefore, the failure of The Road Builder to pay on time caused the delay, not The Sales Company.
"Finishing Too Late" - A Simplified Mock Trial based on the Canada School Net Simplified Mock Trial Design.

Editor's note:

2004 - 2011 The Learning Foundation - LFS Program in Asia