Wassenaar v. Towne Hotel
Wisconsin Supreme Court
331 N.W.2d 357 (1983)
Towne Hotel (Towne) (defendant) hired Donald Wassenaar (plaintiff) as a general manager. The parties entered into an employment contract for a three-year term, which included a liquidated damages clause. The clause provided that Towne would fulfill the financial obligations of the agreement should Towne terminate it prior to its expiration. Wassenaar was let go 21 months before the expiration of the contract, but found work again within just a couple of months. Wassenaar sued for damages. Towne answered alleging that Wassenaar had failed to mitigate damages. The circuit court held that Wassenaar was not required to mitigate. The jury awarded $24,640, which sum represents what Wassenaar had calculated as his damages based upon the liquidated damages clause. The court of appeals reversed the trial court decision and remanded the case for a new trial. The appeals court held the liquidated damages clause void because it was a penalty. It reasoned that the employee’s salary would be easy to calculate in the event of breach and that the formula, which provided an award of full salary without considering mitigation, was unreasonable. Wassenaar petitioned the Supreme Court of Wisconsin for review on the issue of whether the liquidated damages clause is enforceable.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Abrahamson, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 170,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.