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Wille v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

Kansas Supreme Court
549 P.2d 903 (1976)


Facts

For 13 years prior to 1974, Wille (plaintiff) had advertised his business in the yellow pages maintained by Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. (Bell) (defendant). In early 1974, a sales representative for Bell discussed with Wille the listings to be published in July of that year. Wille received a contract for those listings. On the front of the one-page contract, in two separate places, attention was directed to the terms and conditions located on the back of the contract. The terms and conditions included an exculpatory clause. The clause provided that, in the event of incorrect or missing information, Bell would not be liable for any amount beyond what was paid for the incorrect or missing listing. When the listings were published in July, Wille discovered that the listings were incorrect and much of the information was missing. Wille was not billed for and did not pay for the listings that were incorrect or entirely missing. Wille decided to advertise through alternative avenues, incurring expenses for doing so.  Wille filed suit, seeking lost profits and expenses incurred for the alternative advertising. Bell moved for summary judgment due to the exculpatory clause. The trial court granted the motion. Wille appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Harman, Commissioner)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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