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I have a contract between myself and a buildder (for a tiny

house shell on a trailer) The...
I have a contract between myself and a buildder (for a tiny house shell on a trailer)
The original contract was signed by both parties.
The original contract listed out line items as follows:
--Start contract content--
Price for work performed and materials (Tiny Shell only) : $22,400.00
Gooseneck w/7’ deck: 2,600.00
Gooseneck Shell build-out: 2,600.00
Four additional windows framed: ($300.00) FREE
Total $25,600.00Deposits and payments:
Building Queue deposit: (paid 7/28/17) $ 2,000.00
Initial Commitment Deposit 13,000.00
Beginning of construction 5,000.00
Balance: Paid upon completion date. $5,600.00
--- End contract --
The total was miscalculated by the builder (who wrote the contract) as can be seen above - they wrote the total as 25.6K and based the Deposits and payments section on such.
They intended to have the line items add up to a total of 27.6K, not 25.6K and are now requesting a final payment of 7,600 instead of 5,600.
1) Do I have a legal stance that the original total listed is what I should pay (5.6K)?
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
9/28/2017
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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What state is this in, please?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Colorado

Thanks. I would say that someone in your situation does. What you have here is an ambiguous contract. Meaning, the terms can be interpreted more than one way. Obviously there was a mistake here. And in such cases, the Court decides what was likely meant:

A document is ambiguous "when it is reasonably susceptible to more than one meaning." Northern Ins. Co. of New York v. Ekstrom, 784 P.2d 320, 323 (Colo.1989). In deciding whether a contract is ambiguous, a court "may consider extrinsic evidence bearing upon the meaning of the written terms, such as evidence of local usage and of the circumstances surrounding the making of the contract. However, the court may not consider the parties' own extrinsic expressions of intent." KN Energy, Inc. v. Great Western Sugar Co., 698 P.2d 769, 777 (Colo. 1985) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 472 U.S. 1022, 105 S.Ct. 3489, 87 L.Ed.2d 623 (1985); see also Pepcol Mfg. Co. v. Denver Union Corp., 687 P.2d 1310, 1314 n. 3 (Colo.1984) (citing 4 S. Williston, A Treatise on the Law of Contracts § 601, at 311 (W. Jaeger ed. 1961)) ("In determining whether a contract is ambiguous, the court may conditionally admit extrinsic evidence on this issue.").

Someone in your situation has two options. One, is to stick to your own interpretation, and if the other party sues, then to argue the above and let the Court decide. Alternatively, one does not have to wait, and may file a declaratory judgment in Court to ask the Judge to determine what was meant by the contract (often, the THREAT of doing so will have the other party acquiesce).

Finally, note that in an ambiguous contract, the rule of thumb is that it is often presumed to be construed AGAINST the party that wrote it. This helps you.

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