- Rethinking Law series
Chapter 6: Freund through the looking glass: Chodos v. West Publishing Co.
AbstractAfter the publisher reneged on a promise to publish, the author sued and won. The court held that damages were too speculative and instead allowed the author to recover his reliance damages. He claimed that he should be compensated for the time he spent on the manuscript multiplied by his hourly rate as a lawyer. The jury rendered a compromise verdict which accepted the reliance theory and the court approved. Since the author did have the right to publish elsewhere and, in fact, did so, the damages should have been the costs of delayed publication. Had the contract made explicit that the publisher maintained an option to publish, there would have been no breach. Since the contract was on the publisher’s form, it should have been able to eliminate any ambiguity.
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