Reimer v. Badger Wholesale Co.

147 Wis. 2d 389, 433 N.W.2d 592 (Ct. App. 1988)



Remedies for injury to a reliance interest are defined as being reimbursed for loss caused by reliance on the contract by being put in as good a position as he would have been in had the contract not been made.


Respondent former employee worked as a wholesale food salesperson in Missouri and wanted to move back to Wisconsin. After meetings with appellant company, an agreement evolved whereby the employee would receive a base salary plus commission. He also was offered an exclusive territory and a 90-day trial period. After beginning work for the company, the employee discovered that other sales persons already handled accounts in his area. The company later terminated the employee for lack of sales. The employee brought suit against the company, alleging breach of contract, misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, and wrongful dismissal. The last two causes of action were dismissed. On appeal, the company argued that the employee was an employee-at-will and therefore could not bring a breach of contract claim after his termination. In the alternative, the company argued that the measure of damages was incorrect. The court held that the contractual breach was unrelated to the term or duration of employment; therefore, a breach of contract claim would lie. The court further found that the measure of damages was correct; however, credible evidence supported a slightly reduced judgment.


Was the award of damages based upon respondent's reliance interest proper?




Had the contract between the parties not been made, respondent would not have had moving expenses and would still be employed in Missouri. These reliance damages are particularly appropriate where proof of the expectation interest, i.e., profit, is uncertain. 

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