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Gerwin v. Southeastern California Association of Seventh Day Adventists

Court of Appeal of California
14 Cal. App. 3d 209 (1971)


Facts

The Southeastern California Association of Seventh Day Adventists (SCA) (defendant) contracted to sell restaurant and bar equipment to Henry Gerwin (plaintiff). Subsequently, Gerwin brought an action seeking specific performance and damages for breach of contract. At a nonjury trial, Gerwin testified about the cost of obtaining substitute equipment, which ranged from $25,000 to $75,000. Gerwin’s testimony was not contradicted. However, Gerwin did not obtain substitute equipment. SCA did not know it was contracting with Gerwin in particular, or of Gerwin’s particular needs, when accepting the bid. Gerwin sought lost anticipated profits for his restaurant and hotel business, but presented no evidence of the history of comparable local businesses. The court found that Gerwin’s bid was accepted by SCA, that Gerwin performed all required conditions, and that SCA refused to deliver. The court awarded specific performance or, if SCA failed to perform, $25,000 in damages in lieu of specific performance. The court further awarded $20,000 for consequential damages based upon loss of anticipated profits. The court denied SCA’s motion for a new trial, but reduced the $25,000 award to $15,000. On appeal, SCA argued that (1) the $15,000 award was excessive and (2) the award for consequential damages was improper.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tamura, J.)

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