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Locks v. Wade

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    Bloomberg Law

    Citation. 1996 U.S. App.

    Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a contract in which Plaintiff would rent Defendant a jukebox for two years. Defendant repudiated the contract and Plaintiff never installed the jukebox.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where there is a breach of contract to lease a piece of personal proper, supply of which is readily available, the damages should be the profits the lesser, which would have been made on the contract even if lesser is able to lease the property to someone else for the same price.

    Facts. Plaintiff sued Defendant and received the profit he would have made if the contract had been performed, which was $836.00.

    Issue. Should the lower court’s decision to award Plaintiff the profits Plaintiff would have made if the contract had been performed be upheld?

    Held. Yes.
    Defendant argues that since Plaintiff could easily had leased the jukebox to another customer, Plaintiff’s damages should be the profit Plaintiff would have made on the contract with Defendant minus the profit Plaintiff did make leasing the juke box to someone else, i.e., nothing.
    If Defendant had not repudiated the contract, Plaintiff could have bought another jukebox and leased it to another customer instead of leasing the jukebox that was supposed to go to Defendant. In that case, Plaintiff would have the profits of two contracts to lease the jukeboxes instead of one.

    Discussion. This case turns on the fact that Plaintiff could buy another jukebox to lease to another customer. The court points out that in cases when the breached contract is for the sale or lease of real estate, which is unique, Defendant’s proposed formula for calculating damages would be appropriate.


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