Peter Dalton v. Educational Testing Service
Court of Appeals of New York
Dec. 7, 1995.
(87 N.Y.2d 384,*386, 663 N.E.2d 289,**290, 639 N.Y.S.2d 977,***977) FACTS Brian Dalton (plaintiff) took the SAT test in May administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) (defendant). In November, he took again and scored 410 points higher. Because the increased score fell within the ETS category of discrepant scores, the ETS did a handwriting comparison examined by a document examiner who opined that they were completed by separate individuals. The ETS made a preliminary decision to cancel Dalton’s November score. In registering for the November test, Dalton had signed an agreement granting the ETS the right to cancel any test score if ETS has reason to question the score’s validity. The contract also provided five options for plaintiff in the event the score is questioned. Dalton exercised his contractually guaranteed right to submit additional information to the board. Despite substantial evidence that Dalton took both tests, ETS continued to question the validity of his November score based on the opinion of a second document examiner. The plaintiff’s father, Peter Dalton initiated this action to prevent ETS from canceling plaintiff’s score. The Supreme Court concluded the ETS breached its contract with Dalton and ordered ETS to release SAT score. Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the trial court, holding that ETS breached its contract with Dalton. The remedy is the specific performance of good faith compliance with ETS’s stated procedures, not the release of the questioned score ordered by the lower courts. ISSUE Did a party who drafted the contract exercised a good faith effort to comply with the procedures specified its contract with the person? Opinion No. Implicit in all contracts is a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in course of contract performance. The implied obligation to act in good faith...
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