Case Brief of Kalal v. Goldblatt Brothers Inc.

Published: 2021-08-02
549 words
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Carnegie Mellon University
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Procedural History: The plaintiff, Kalal filed a lawsuit against Goldblatt Brothers Inc., for a purported breach of contract. The plaintiff provided evidence of losses incurred as a result of the defendants failure to perform as specified by the contract. The trial court made the judgment that the plaintiff, Kalal deserved to be compensated for damages brought about by the defendants actions. The circuit court of Cook County, therefore, put forth an amount of $2500 in damages to be paid in favor of the plaintiff after determining that the defendant had not honored their written agreement to reupholster a sofa.

Issue: What is the right manner of determining special damages?

Holding: It is a general rule that damages paid should be tailored to place the inconvenienced party in a position that he/she would have been in the other party had honored the contract. It is also important to keep in mind the rule that any information communicated by the buyer to the seller on probable causes of unforeseeable circumstances is not a basis for charging the seller with special damages.


The plaintiff and the defendant entered into a binding agreement on June 26, 1974, to remodel a sofa for the cost of $466.20. Initially, the reupholstering was supposed to take 6-8 weeks, but Goldblatt Brothers Inc. were unable to do so due to the lack of Salina Persimmon fabric. Communication of the issue happened after eight weeks had elapsed, and Kalal changed his specifications. A new delivery date was then set. However, it was deja vu all over again as the gold fabric was not available. The third material picked by the client was natural gold, and the defendant was able to deliver the sofa but past the agreed date.

In November 1974, the sofa was delivered to the plaintiff, and upon critical inspection, he noticed that the color was not the natural gold he had picked. The plaintiff demanded that the seller had to return the sofa to the original condition because they were unable to meet customer specifications.

On December the 23rd, Emalfarb, a representative of Goldblatt Brothers Inc. called the plaintiff to assure him that the natural gold fabric was available and that the sofa would be ready by the 31st of the same month. The plaintiff sought the advice of his attorney who refused the offer.

At the time of trial, the sofa was still in the defendants workshop.

The evidence of loss by the plaintiff was admitted in court in the form of costs incurred in the redecoration of the living room to match the new fabric which was still undelivered. The total costs were up to an amount of $1705 excluding the initial value of the sofa which was in the range of $700-$800.

Reasoning: The circumstances under which the trial court made its verdict were heavily dependent on the definitions and interpretations of certain terminologies. For instance, the term special damages were unclear. In this case, it was agreeable to both parties that breach of contract had occurred. The evaluation of damages was set to be based on loss of use of the sofa and not the amounts spent on redecoration by the plaintiff.

Disposition: The judgment of the circuit court of Cook County was reversed in the part of damages and remanded for a new trial.

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