Hadley (plaintiff) owned and operated a corn mill in Gloucester. The crank shaft that operated the mill broke and halted all mill operations. To obtain a new shaft, Hadley was required to ship the old crank shaft to Joyce & Co., an engineering company in Greenwich, to be used as a model for a new shaft. Hadley contacted Pickford & Co. (Pickford), a shipping company owned by Baxendale (defendant), and obtained shipping information for the crank shaft. Hadley was informed that if the crank shaft was delivered to Pickford before noon, it would be shipped and delivered to Greenwich the following day. The following day, Hadley delivered the crank shaft to Pickford before noon and paid the shipping price in full. However, Pickford negligently delayed shipping, and the crank shaft was not delivered until several days later. As a result, Hadley obtained the new crank shaft several days later than expected, during which time the mill remained closed. Hadley brought suit against Baxendale for damages, including lost profits from the delay. The jury awarded Hadley lost profits, and Baxendale appealed.