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Southwestern Bell Telephone Company v. DeLanney

Supreme Court of Texas
809 S.W. 2d 493 (1991)


Facts

For several years, Eugene DeLanney (plaintiff) advertised his real-estate business in Southwestern Bell Telephone Company’s (Southwestern Bell) (defendant) Yellow Pages. DeLanney had two business phones: a rotary line and a single line. The Yellow Pages advertisement was connected to DeLanney’s single line. However, prior to renewing the Yellow Pages advertisement for the upcoming year, DeLanney’s wife asked Southwestern Bell to disconnect the single line. Consequently, Southwestern Bell cancelled DeLanney’s advertisement automatically when the single line was disconnected. After Southwestern Bell failed to include DeLanney’s Yellow Pages advertisement, DeLanney sued Southwestern Bell for negligence. After a jury trial, Southwestern Bell moved for a directed verdict. The trial court denied Southwestern Bell’s motion and submitted the case to the jury. The jury held for DeLanney and awarded him $109,000 in damages for lost profits and $40,000 for future lost profits. The trial court reduced the future lost-profits award to $21,480. Southwestern Bell appealed. The court of appeals affirmed and held that the company’s failure to perform under its contract with DeLanney was a basis for tort recovery, as well as recovery for breach of contract. The Supreme Court of Texas granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Phillips, J.)

Concurrence (Gonzalez, J.)

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