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Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store

Supreme Court of Minnesota
86 N.W.2d 689 (1957)


On April 6, 1956 Great Minneapolis Surplus Store (the store) (defendant) published a newspaper advertisement stating that on the upcoming Saturday at 9:00am, it would sell three fur coats described as “Worth to $100) for $1 each. The advertisement stated that the coats would be sold on a “first come, first served” basis. On April 13, 1956, the store published a similar advertisement with similar terms offering to sell a black lapin stole worth $139.50 for $1. On each sale date, Lefkowitz (plaintiff) was the first person to present himself at the store and offer to buy the advertised items. However, the store refused to sell him the items on the ground that a “house rule” dictated that the offers were intended for women only. Lefkowitz brought suit for the value of the items advertised, minus the sale price of $1 each. The trial court held that the value of the fur coats in the first advertisement was too speculative to determine with any certainty, and denied damages to Lefkowitz for these items. However, the trial court held that the value of $139.50 could be determined with sufficient certainty an awarded Lefkowitz the full value, minus the $1 purchase price advertised. The store appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Murphy, J.)

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