Friday, November 29, 2013

American Mechanical Corp. v. Union Machine Co. of Lynn, Inc. case brief

American Mechanical Corp. v. Union Machine Co. of Lynn, Inc. case brief summary
21 Mass.App.Ct. 97 (1985)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff seller appealed a judgment of the Essex Superior Court Department (Massachusetts), awarding only nominal damages to the seller on its breach of contract claim against defendants, a prospective purchaser and its president, and dismissing the seller's claim of unfair and deceptive practices in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, § 2.

CASE FACTS
The seller of commercial real estate, machinery, and equipment sought damages from a prospective purchaser after the sale fell through. The seller alleged breach of contract and violation of Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 93A.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The trial judge concluded that, although there was a breach of contract, the right to recover damages beyond nominal damages had not been proved, and that, in the absence of proof of a demand letter, ch. 93A recovery could only be had under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, § 11, which had not been pleaded.

DISCUSSION

  • The court vacated the trial court's judgment and held that the correct measure of damages was the full amount of the actual loss, which was the contract price less the amount received for the property at a foreclosure sale of the real estate, machinery, and equipment. 
  • The court held that the purchaser did not meet its burden of proving that losses could have been avoided by reasonable effort and that there was no basis for reducing the damages. 
  • The court also stated that dismissal of the ch. 93A claim was improper. 
  • The court found evidence that warranted a finding of unfair and deceptive practices and held that recovery was not conditioned upon the sending of a demand letter.

CONCLUSION
The court vacated the trial court's judgment and directed that a judgment should be entered for the seller for its actual losses on the breach of contract claim. The court remanded for findings of fact, conclusions of law, and entry of judgment on the claim of unfair and deceptive practices.

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