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Sutherland v. Wyer

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
67 Me. 64 (1877)


Facts

The defendants hired the plaintiff to perform at their museum for 36 weeks at a rate of $35 per week. The contract enabled the defendants to fire the plaintiff for cause. At the end of the 18th week, the defendants attempted to reduce the plaintiff’s salary to $24 per week. When the plaintiff declined, the defendants fired him. After his termination, the plaintiff secured only $60 in wages during the duration of the contract. The plaintiff acknowledged, however, that he had abandoned an opportunity to earn an additional $57. The plaintiff sued the defendants for breach of contract. At trial, the defendants claimed that the firing was for cause under the contract. The jury, however, found that the firing was a result of the plaintiff’s refusal to accept a lower wage. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of the salary due to him under the remaining 18 weeks in the contract. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Virgin, J.)

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