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Hathaway v. Sabin

Citation. 63 Vt. 527 (Supreme Court of Vermont, 1891)
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Brief Fact Summary.

This case involved a contract under which the Plaintiff was to give a concert, and Defendant was to furnish a fall and pay the Plaintiff $75 after the entertainment.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A party who becomes involved in difficulties for which he is not responsible, if ultimately able to perform, is not to be deprived of the benefits of his contract because of an assumption by the other party that the difficulties would prove insurmountable. 


The Plaintiff alleged he was ready to perform, but that the Defendant breached by failing to provide a hall.

The Defendant contended he was excused from opening and heating the hall due to the apparent impossibility of the musicians reaching the town.  There had been a violent snowstorm in Montpelier that suspended most trains and made travel extremely difficult. 

The lower court directed a verdict for the Plaintiff for $75 plus interest.


·         Was there proof of loss from any breach complained of?

·         Was Defendant excused from opening the hall?

·         Should damages have been assessed by the jury?


Judgment affirmed.

·         The Plaintiff was ready to give the concert and would have received $75 for his performance, but Defendant failed to furnish the hall.  This breach was properly assigned as the breach from which the Plaintiff suffered damage.

·         Defendant was mistaken in supposing the Plaintiff would not be able to perform, and could not plead reasonable cause.

·         The Plaintiff was entitled to have this verdict directed.  He incurred all the expense necessary to enable him to give the concert, and was entitled to damages in the amount he would have gotten by performing.  






It would have been inequitable to deny the Plaintiff recovery after traveling through a snowstorm to perform, only to find the Defendant did not furnish the hall for performance. 

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