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Contracts

Exam 1
30 minutes

Fact Pattern

Photographer scheduled a trip to New City to hold six meetings, each to obtain long-term work with a different potential client. All the meetings were scheduled for the same day. Three were scheduled for the morning (before noon), and three for the afternoon. As the meetings were to take place in various locations throughout downtown New City, Photographer would need transportation for the day. Photographer had never previously visited New City, so he did not want to rely upon public transportation or try to drive himself around in unfamiliar locations. After some Internet research, he found the website of New City Drivers (newcitydrivers.net).

The website offered the services of several drivers, who could be hired by the hour or by the day. Each driver’s profile on the website listed that driver’s name, age, hourly and daily rates, and the make and model of the driver’s vehicle. Photographer selected Driver’s profile. After verifying that Driver would be available on the day of Photographer’s meetings, Photographer completed the online order form to hire her.

Later that day, Driver emailed Photographer to confirm his reservation. Driver attached a photo of her car to the email, so that Photographer would recognize it when she picked him up. After viewing the photo, Photographer emailed Driver the following:

Thank you for confirming my reservation for next week. However, I am worried by the photo of your car you attached. I am planning to bring some of my photography equipment to my meetings that day, and it doesn’t look like the larger equipment will fit in your car. I would prefer an SUV, to be sure that all of my equipment will easily fit in the vehicle.

Driver did not respond to Photographer’s email. On the day of Photographer’s reservation, Driver did not pick him up at the scheduled time. The hotel’s concierge, who knew about Photographer’s meeting schedule, immediately offered to arrange substitute transportation that would get Photographer to all his meetings on time. Photographer declined the concierge’s offer, and insisted on waiting for Driver and using New City Drivers. After waiting for half an hour outside his hotel, Photographer went back up to his hotel room and emailed Driver:

Where are you? I have already missed my first meeting this morning, and I have five more scheduled throughout the day—including two more before noon.

Driver did not respond until noon:

Sorry, but I thought you canceled the reservation with me so that you could reserve an SUV! I have already accepted another client for today, but I will have my supervisor at New City Drivers call you right now and see whether there is another driver who can get you to your afternoon appointments.

Shortly after, the supervisor called Photographer, who was still in his hotel room, and arranged to send an alternative chauffeur to take him to his afternoon meetings. Photographer attended all three, signing contracts with two of the three clients. Photographer later complained to New City Drivers that he would have made $15,000 profit on each morning appointment, had he signed a contract with each potential client. Photographer then sued New City Drivers for breach of contract, seeking only $45,000 in damages arising from the missed morning meetings. Assume a valid contract between New City Drivers and Photographer.


Questions

  1. New City Drivers argues that it had no contractual obligation to pick up Photographer on the day of his reservation. Is this argument likely to succeed? Explain, making sure to articulate the rationale behind the argument.

  2. New City Drivers argues in the alternative that, even if it breached the contract and Photographer’s estimate of his damages is accepted by the court, it is not liable for any lost profits resulting from Photographer’s missing his morning meetings. What will New City Drivers argue that Photographer should have done? Is this argument likely to succeed? Explain.

  3. Assume that New City Drivers’ arguments fail (rightly or wrongly), New City Drivers is found in at least partial breach, and Photographer is asked to demonstrate why his requested $45,000 in damages is an accurate assessment of his damages. Is Photographer likely to obtain a judgment of $45,000 arising from the missed meetings, and what will he need to show in order to obtain these damages? Explain.

Question 1

New City Drivers argues that it had no contractual obligation to pick up Photographer on the day of his reservation. Is this argument likely to succeed? Explain, making sure to articulate the rationale behind the argument.

Question 2

New City Drivers argues in the alternative that, even if it breached the contract and Photographer’s estimate of his damages is accepted by the court, it is not liable for any lost profits resulting from Photographer’s missing his morning meetings. What will New City Drivers argue that Photographer should have done? Is this argument likely to succeed? Explain.

Question 3

Assume that New City Drivers’ arguments fail (rightly or wrongly), New City Drivers is found in at least partial breach, and Photographer is asked to demonstrate why his requested $45,000 in damages is an accurate assessment of his damages. Is Photographer likely to obtain a judgment of $45,000 arising from the missed meetings, and what will he need to show in order to obtain these damages? Explain.

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