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Bradley v. Booz





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS O'BRIEN, Judge, presiding.


This appeal arises from two orders entered by the circuit court of Cook County. The first of these orders, entered pursuant to the trial of a breach of contract action, found in favor of defendant Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., National Analysis Division (hereinafter referred to as National) and against plaintiff Olivia Bradley, d/b/a Consumer Research Consortium (hereinafter referred to as Bradley), upon plaintiff's complaint and, further, found in favor of defendant upon defendant's counterclaim. The second order denied plaintiff's dual motion for vacation of judgment and for new trial.

In September of 1975 National and Bradley entered into an oral agreement pursuant to which Bradley agreed to perform interviewing functions for a consumer beer survey organized and conducted by National. Bradley received her instructions and materials from National through Dr. Robert Michaels, a study director employed by National. Bradley commenced and completed a pretest and then commenced the interviewing portion of the consumer beer survey. Bradley collected interview forms and periodically transmitted these forms to National. Bradley billed National according to the periodic completion of interviews.

Subsequently, Dr. Michaels determined that Bradley had not conducted interviews in accordance with National's instructions and notified Bradley of his findings. Bradley eventually refused to correct the errors found in the interviews and National refrained from further compensating Bradley (Bradley had received $2,856.87 in prior payment).

National's failure to further compensate Bradley prompted Bradley to commence an action, sounding in contract, in the circuit court of Cook County. The complaint, filed March 3, 1976, alleged that Bradley performed interviews, pursuant to an agreement with National, and thereafter National failed and refused to pay Bradley a balance of $2,583.01. Bradley, through this complaint, sought $2,583.01 in damages, plus court costs.

On April 7, 1976, National responded by filing an answer and counterclaim sounding in contract. The answer admitted that National requested Bradley to conduct interviews and prayed that Bradley's complaint be dismissed with prejudice and that Bradley be taxed with costs.

The counterclaim alleged that Bradley conducted her survey in wilful and wanton disregard of the survey interviewing instructions. It further alleged that National notified Bradley of this and notified Bradley that the surveys were unacceptable; that Bradley refused to correct the errors; that National was compelled to hire another firm to complete the survey, and that National, in completing the survey, was required to spend an additional $9,908.82. National sought this amount as damages.

On June 14, 1976, Bradley filed an answer to the counterclaim in which all of National's allegations were denied and Bradley prayed that the counterclaim be dismissed. The counterclaim also sought attorney's fees for false allegations and claims.

A trial, to be discussed in detail, ensued (an agreed statement of facts in lieu of a transcript of proceedings is contained in the record on appeal). On April 29, 1977, after the court heard testimony of various witnesses, the circuit court found for National upon both the original complaint and counterclaim. Accordingly, a judgment was entered in favor of National in the amount of $4,037 plus costs.

The culmination of the trial did not terminate the procedural history of the case at bar. On May 27, 1977, Bradley filed a motion to vacate finding for the defendant on the complaint and judgment on counterclaim against the plaintiff, counterdefendant and for judgment on the complaint and dismissal of counterclaim or, in the alternative, for a new trial. On June 20, 1977, National responded with a memorandum in opposition to plaintiff's and counterdefendant's motion to vacate finding for defendant on the complaint and judgment on counterclaim against the plaintiff. On July 6, 1977, Bradley filed a reply to the memorandum of the defendant-counterplaintiff.

On August 19, 1977, the circuit court of Cook County entered its second and last order in this matter. This order denied Bradley's motion for vacation of judgment and for new trial. It is from this order and the aforementioned April 29, 1977, order that Bradley appeals.

At trial, the court heard the testimony of various witnesses. Mrs. Bradley testified on her own behalf. Samuel Hagler, Dr. Robert Michaels, Myrtle Griffin and Robert Joffe testified on behalf of National.

Mrs. Bradley testified that she was the proprietor of Consumer Research Consortium. She stated that in September of 1975, Dr. Michaels of National telephoned her and asked if she would be interested in conducting interviews for a beer survey to be performed by National. Dr. Michaels indicated that 400 satisfactory interviews were needed. These survey interviews would involve adults who drank at least six cans of beer each week. On September 24, 1975, Mrs. Bradley agreed to work for National for a fee of $4,600 plus or minus 10% of this amount.

Mrs. Bradley also agreed to perform a pretest survey consisting of six interviews. Each interview was to be conducted over a 1 1/2-hour period. Mrs. Bradley received pretest interviewing forms and instructions from National. She and another interviewer conducted the pretest.

Mrs. Bradley further stated that on October 13, 1975, she received survey instructions, contact report forms and interview questionnaires from Dr. Michaels. On that date Dr. Michaels informed Mrs. Bradley that National would analyze the interviews as received from Mrs. Bradley. On October 15, 1975, she notified Dr. Michaels that she had commenced the survey interviews.

By October 23, 1975, Mrs. Bradley had submitted 55 interview forms to National. She then received a call from National and she was informed that her contact report forms were improperly completed. On October 28, 1975, she delivered 59 interview forms to National. Sixty-nine more interview forms were delivered to National on October 31, 1975. Again Mrs. Bradley was informed by National that some contact report forms and screening forms were not properly completed. Mrs. Bradley testified that at this time she informed National that she would have her interviewers comply with National's instructions.

On November 4, 1975, 71 interview forms were delivered to National. Again National informed Mrs. Bradley of noncompliance with National's instructions. On November 11, 1975, Mrs. Bradley delivered 146 interview forms to National. She testified that on that day Dr. Michaels told her that he would hold further payment to her because of problems that arose in attempting to validate the interviews. Mrs. Bradley stated that she informed Dr. Michaels that she would do a physical validation for him. If the interviews could not be validated, she indicated that she would again conduct the interviews so that National would be satisfied with her work.

Mrs. Bradley testified that she did a physical validation of 40 interviews conducted by one of her interviewers and then mailed her results to Dr. Michaels for acceptance. This mailing occurred on November 25, 1975.

Bradley also indicated that prior to her mailing of the validation results to National she received from Dr. Michaels 400 blank interview forms. She returned these forms to National. She telephoned Dr. Michaels to inform him that she would no longer work on the consumer beer survey.

On November 25, 1975, a corporate attorney for Booz, Allen & Hamilton told Bradley that if she did not complete the survey she would be in violation of the agreement entered into between Bradley and National. She responded that she would not again conduct the interviews. On November 26, 1975, Bradley received the following telegram from the attorney at Booz, Allen & Hamilton:

"Based upon your statement to R J Michaels on November 25 and K J Wees on November 26 that you refused to complete interviewing as contracted with National Analyst we hereby advise you that you have breached the contract and that National Analyst will proceed to have the work finished at your expense. You ...

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