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Young v. Frank’s Nursery & Crafts, Inc.

Supreme Court of Ohio
569 N.E.2d 1034 (1991)


Facts

Frank’s Nursery & Crafts, Inc. (Frank’s) (defendant) entered into a contract with William Young (plaintiff) to purchase 360 tons of pine boughs for $238,333. To fill this order, Young obtained cutting rights from various tree farms, repaired his machinery, and made 75 new hand tiers for bundling the boughs. In June, Frank’s reduced its order to 70 tons of pine boughs. Although Young sought additional buyers, all the buyers that he approached had already placed their orders for the fall cutting season with other sellers. When fall came, Young cut boughs sufficient to fill only the reduced order from Frank’s. Young sued Frank’s for breach of contract, alleging damages in the form of lost profits. Frank’s conceded the breach. The trial court told the jury that, to stop Young from recovering his lost profits, Frank’s had the burden of showing that Young’s decision to not cut all the boughs that Frank’s had originally ordered was commercially unreasonable. The jury awarded Young damages of $132,902. Frank’s appealed, and the court of appeals reversed. The court of appeals held that the trial court erred when it instructed the jury about the burden of proof for showing commercial reasonableness and put the burden on Frank’s. Young appealed to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wright, J.)

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