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Pratt Furniture Company v. McBee

Supreme Court of New Hampshire
337 H.2d 119 (1987)


Facts

Pratt Furniture Company (Pratt) (plaintiff), a large furniture wholesaler, entered into a contract with Ivan McBee (defendant), a sole proprietor, whereby McBee was to manufacture and sell to Pratt 90,000 chairs at $10 per chair. Shortly thereafter, and prior to allocating any resources to Pratt’s order, McBee received an order from Thompson Table Company (TTC) for 50,000 tables at $32 per table. McBee’s facility could accommodate only one of these orders, and McBee realized that he could enjoy a sizeable profit by completing TTC’s order instead of the Pratt order. As a result, McBee repudiated the contract with Pratt. McBee’s attorney informed him that he would owe Pratt $90,000 in damages, but would still receive an overall $80,000 profit by breaching the agreement with Pratt. Pratt filed suit to enjoin McBee from completing the TTC order and for an order of specific performance as to the chairs. In the alternative, Pratt sought general damages, restitution, and punitive damages from McBee’s breach. McBee argued that several other chair manufacturers in the area could complete Pratt’s order, but that only McBee could make the type of table required by TTC. The trial court denied Pratt’s motion for summary judgment, awarded Pratt general damages in the amount of $90,000, and denied Pratt’s claims for punitive damages and restitution. Pratt appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bodweiss, J.)

Concurrence (Posnier, J.)

Dissent (Rawlz, J.)

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