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Law School Case Brief

Chi. Coliseum Club v. Dempsey - 265 Ill. App. 542 (1932)


Damages for a breach of contract must be established by evidence from which a court or jury are able to ascertain the extent of such damages by the usual rules of evidence and to a reasonable degree of certainty. When the court is of the opinion that the performance in question is not susceptible of proof sufficient to satisfy the requirements and that the damages, if any, are purely speculative, then compensation for such damages is improper.


Plaintiff corporation brought action to recover damages for breach of contract by defendant boxer. After defendant refused to complete the contract and have himself examined for insurance purposes because he was getting ready for a fight, the corporation filed an action to enjoin defendant from engaging in another boxing match. The court decreed the  contract was valid, complainant had expended large sums of money in carrying out the terms, and defendant was restrained from training for or participating in any boxing matches other than the one designated by plaintiff. Plaintiff sought damages in a separate action for loss of profits from the contest, expenses incurred prior to signing of the agreement, expenses incurred restraining defendant from other contests and forcing compliance, and expenses incurred after signing but before breach. The court also said that these damages were recoverable. The case was appealed.



Is the corporation entitled to recover speculative damages?




The court reversed and remanded. Speculative damages, costs incurred prior to contract, and costs incurred not specified in contract to force contract compliance were unrecoverable. The court permitted damages only for expenses incurred during time between the signing of the contract and defendant's repudiation of the contract.

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