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McDonald v. John P. Scripps Newspaper

257 Cal. Rptr. 473 (1989)

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McDonald v. John P. Scripps Newspaper

California Court of Appeal

257 Cal. Rptr. 473 (1989)

Facts

Gavin McDonald (plaintiff), a minor, entered a spelling bee sponsored by John P. Scripps Newspaper (Scripps) (defendant) and lost to another contestant when he misspelled a word. Scripps’s judges had previously disqualified that contestant for a misspelling but reinstated him when they learned that the contestant had correctly spelled the word’s accepted variant form. McDonald sued Scripps through a guardian ad litem, who alleged that the contest rules constituted a contract between Scripps and contest participants, that Scripps breached the contract by improperly reinstating McDonald’s opponent, and that McDonald’s loss so humiliated and mortified him that he was entitled to recover both compensatory and punitive damages. The trial court sustained a demurrer to McDonald’s complaint and denied leave to amend.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, J.)

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