This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




Partners 4 Design,



Carolyn Abbott,


Filed December 17, 1996


Willis, Judge

Scott County District Court

File No. C9512395

Susan J. Marsnik, Patrick J. Kelly, Jacobson, Harwood, Bennett & Erickson, P.A., 3800 Multifoods Tower, 33 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Respondent)

David T. Erickson, David E. Albright, 7900 First Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55420 (for Appellant)

Considered and decided by Parker, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, Willis, Judge.



Carolyn Abbott appeals the district court's denial of her motion for a new trial. In the underlying action, the district court (1) found that Abbott had breached her contract with respondent Partners 4 Design and was liable for damages, and (2) dismissed Abbott's counterclaim for rescission of the contract and damages. We affirm.


Partners 4 Design (Partners 4) provides home design, remodeling, and construction services. In the summer of 1993, Carolyn Abbott met with Connie Gustafson, an employee of Partners 4, to discuss remodeling Abbott's kitchen. On June 10, 1993, Abbott signed a contract for kitchen design services with Partners 4 and made a $500 down payment against the cost of those services. On July 28, 1993, Abbott signed agreements with Partners 4 to buy countertops, appliances, and custom-designed cabinets and gave Partners 4 down payments totalling $18,437.74.

Partners 4 was ready to deliver the countertops, appliances, and cabinets to Abbott on September 4, 1993, but she requested that Partners 4 delay delivery until September 29, 1993. Partners 4 put the merchandise in storage. On September 29, Abbott's lawyer informed Partners 4 by telephone that Abbott would not accept the countertops, appliances, and cabinets. The countertops and appliances were returned to the manufacturers, but the cabinets were custom-made and could not be returned or resold.

Partners 4 sued Abbott for the balance of the purchase price of the cabinets, for storage of the cabinets, and for the balance due for design services. Abbott counterclaimed for rescission of the contract and for damages. The district court found that (1) the parties entered into contracts for kitchen design services and cabinets, (2) Abbott refused delivery of the cabinets, and (3) the cabinets were custom-designed and thus had no resale value.


On appeal from a denial of a motion for a new trial, a reviewing court will not disturb the district court's decision unless it is manifestly contrary to the evidence. ZumBerge v. Northern States Power Co., 481 N.W.2d 103, 110 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. Apr. 29, 1992).

Abbott asserts the district court's findings were in error, arguing (1) the remodeling of Abbott's kitchen was a condition precedent to the formation of the cabinet, appliance, and countertop agreements, (2) there was no contract to purchase cabinets because they were not adequately described in the contract, (3) Abbott was fraudulently induced into signing the cabinet contract, and (4) the proof of kitchen design services provided by Gustafson was inadequate.

Abbott argues there was no mutual assent to the terms of the contracts because she intended the remodeling of her home to be a condition precedent to the formation of the agreements to buy the cabinets, appliances, and countertops. Mutual assent is to be objectively, not subjectively, determined. North Star Ctr., Inc. v. Sibley Bowl, Inc., 295 Minn. 424, 426, 205 N.W.2d 331, 332 (1973). Here, the objective evidence is the written contracts. There was no condition precedent to Abbott's contractual duty to pay for the cabinets; in fact, the contract explicitly provided that the cabinets were to be ordered immediately and that the agreement was not subject to cancellation for any reason.

Abbott also claims the district court erred by finding a contract for cabinets because the evidence presented at trial did not describe the cabinets with sufficient specificity. If the terms of a contract can be ascertained with reasonable certainty, the contract will be enforced. Furuseth v. Olson, 297 Minn. 491, 493, 210 N.W.2d 47, 49 (1973). Here, the contractual description of the goods is sufficient for them to be identified by the parties and by the manufacturer. Further, Abbott presented no evidence that the cabinets that were delivered and are currently in storage are not the ones she selected and ordered.

Abbott next argues the district court erred by not finding that Gustafson fraudulently misrepresented to Abbott that the cabinets needed to be ordered immediately. A contract is voidable if a party's assent is induced by a fraudulent misrepresentation on which the party is justified in relying. Carpenter v. Vreeman, 409 N.W.2d 258, 260-261 (Minn. App. 1987). Gustafson testified that it is industry practice to order cabinets at the outset of a remodeling project so they arrive before remodeling begins. Abbott presented no testimony to the contrary, nor did she present any other evidence of misrepresentation.

Finally, Abbott argues the district court should not have awarded damages for 21.5 hours of kitchen design services provided by Gustafson, asserting that Partners 4 never provided Abbott with a "detailed statement for services." The kitchen design agreement did not require Partners 4 to provide a detailed statement of services provided. Gustafson's testimony that she actually performed more than 30 hours of kitchen design services for Abbott was uncontroverted. Abbott's assertion that she did not receive a detailed statement does not refute Gustafson's testimony.

The record supports the district court's findings that Abbott entered into and breached contracts for cabinets and kitchen design services with Partners 4 and the district court's denial of Abbott's counterclaim requesting rescission of the contract and damages. It was not error for the district court to deny Abbott's motion for a new trial.