This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
A contract by A to effect a sale of B's land during the existence of an option thereon is substantially performed if A effects a valid contract for such sale, though the deeds are not executed until the option has expired.1 A contract to haul all the wood cut upon a certain tract, amounting to about eight thousand cords, is substantially performed by hauling all but a few scattered blocks which amounted to about one-tenth of one per cent, of the entire amount of wood.2 The contractor's act in voluntarily collecting the scattered blocks at considerable expense after suit is brought, is not an admission that he had not performed the contract before bringing suit, but is to be referred to an excess of caution. A contract to maintain an omnibus line from a given hotel to the depot is substantially performed although at times the same omnibus was used to take passengers to several different hotels, and a separate omnibus line was contemplated by the contract.3 A contract to place and keep up fourteen hundred signs on an elevated railway is substantially performed where all were kept up except twenty, and these were placed in galleries leading to a bridge, but were removed and placed in temporary galleries while the other galleries were being reconstructed.4 A contract to share fees with one who collects certain claims, by obtaining the passage of an act of congress for the purpose of such settlement, is substantially performed where a bill is passed at a later season substantially like the former bill, except that it provides for the payment to claimant in person.5 A contract to devote all one's time to a certain business is substantially performed though the contractor is absent for short periods of time when his presence is not necessary to the success of the business.6 Substantial performance of a contract to exterminate all the prairie dogs on a certain tract of land will entitle the contractor to recovery.7
26 Benge v. Potter (Ky.), 55 S. W. 431.
27 Olson v. Rogness, 173 Ia. 331, 155 X. W. 301.
28 Black v. Maddox, 104 Ga. 157, 30 8. E. 723.
1 Reed v. Crane. 89 Mo. App. 670. In Newman v. McGregor. 5 Ohio 349, it is Raid that recovery may be had in common counts upon substantial performance; in this case, of a contract for work and labor. However, it seems probable that performance was waived in part. The court says that "it is very difficult to discover the point in controversy."
2 Drew v. Goodhue, 74 Vt. 436, 52 Atl. 971.
3 Hathaway v. Lynn, 75 Wis. 186, 6 L. R. A. 551, 43 X. W. 956.
4 Desmond-Dunne Co. v. Friedman -Doscher Co., 162 X. Y. 486, 56 X. E. 995.
A contract to render services which are not unique in their character and which do not involve personal skill, is performed substantially if the contractor employs others to assist him in the work or to do the work in his stead.8 A contract to drill a well is performed, although the contractor does no part of the work himself, but employs others to perform.9 A contract by A to support B for B 's life is performed substantially if A supports B for fifteen years, and then, although A dies a short time before B dies, A's administrator and widow offer to continue performance.10