Sunday, December 1, 2013

Reliance Cooperage Corp. v. Treat case brief

Reliance Cooperage Corp. v. Treat case brief summary
195 F.2d 977 (1952)

Plaintiff cooperage sought review of the decision of the federal district court that entered a judgment in favor of the cooperage and assessed damages at $ 500.00 in the cooperage's action for breach of contract against defendant supplier.

The cooperage and the supplier entered into an agreement where the supplier agreed to provide to the cooperage 300,000 staves at a fixed price and agreed to complete the contract by no later than December 31, 1950. Sometime in September, the supplier told the cooperage that it would not be providing the staves as agreed to under the contract.


  • On appeal from the litigation for breach of contract, the cooperage challenged the district court's instructions that the cooperage had a duty to mitigate its damages upon first learning of the supplier's intent to breach the contract. 
  • The court reversed the decision and remanded the action for a new trial on the issue of damages. 
  • The court held that the cooperage did not have a duty to mitigate its damages upon learning of the breach, but under the doctrine of anticipatory repudiation had the option to wait until the time for performance had expired and then recover for non-performance. 
  • The cooperage was entitled to recover the difference between the contract price for the staves and the price of the staves as of December 31, 1950.

The court reversed the decision of the district court and remanded the matter with directions to grant a new trial on the issue of damages.

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