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Wellston Coal Co. v. Franklin Paper Co.

Supreme Court of Ohio
48 N.E. 888 (1897)


In August 1890, the defendant signed a one-year contract to buy all of its coal from the plaintiff for a price, after delivery charges, of $1 per ton. Generally, the coal market was stronger in the fall and winter months and weaker in the spring and summer months. The price of $1 per ton was more than the market would bear in the spring and summer and less than the market would bear in the fall and winter. The contract term of one year assured the defendant a good price in the fall and winter, and assured the plaintiff a guaranteed sale at a good price during the coal market’s slow summer months. The parties performed under the contract in the winter of 1890-1891, but in May 1891, the defendant repudiated the contract. The plaintiff brought suit, seeking damages based on the market value of the coal it delivered to the defendant during the winter of 1890-1891. The trial court denied this calculation of damages and instead awarded the plaintiff only nominal damages. The plaintiff appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Minshall, J.)

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