Friday, March 23, 2012

Hawkins v. McGee case brief

Hawkins v. McGee; Hairy Hand case; (Sup. Ct. of NH, 1929); Supp 10; Notes 2
  • Facts: Hawkins’ hand had scar on it. Doctor convinces him to let him do skin-graft (doc wanted practice in it). Doc said Hawkins would be in hospital no more than 4 days, and promised him a “100% good hand.” No written contract – Hawkins’ dad to pay sometime (undisclosed sum, indeterminate time). After surgery, Hawkins hand is mangled and hairy.
  • Cause of Action: Breach of warranty in that hand was not rendered 100% useful.
  • Holding: Doc breached warranty re: guarantee of perfect hand. Not only was Hawkins’ hand not made perfect, but it was made worse. The extended hospital stay was not a warranty and thus not a breach.
  • Rule: expectation remedy: put Hawkins where he would have been had the promise been fulfilled.
  • Damages: (value of Hawkins would have received if contract carried out) – (value of current hand) + (incidental losses resulting from breach)
  • Rationale: Court analogies to case of machine w/ warranty. If warranty broken, P would get value of working machine minus value it actually has, plus incidental. Also says that pain and suffering should not be taken into account b/c Hawkins was willing to endure this p&s had surgery been successful.

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