Demble v. Farren Case Brief

Summary of Demble v. Farren


Plaintiff: Demble (the manager of Covent Garden Theatre)

Defendant: Farren (an actor)

Facts: The defendant contracted the plaintiff to act as a principle comedian at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden and agree that either of the party neglected or refused to fulfill the terms in the agreement should pay the other 1,000l., which was declared as to be liquidated and ascertained damages instead of a penalty or penal sum, or in the nature thereof. The defendant breached and the damages were assessed at 750l.

Issue: Whether the plaintiff can be awarded the damage of 1,000l. declared in the agreement?

Holding: The court made the decision in favor of the defendant, discharging the rule of increasing the damages.

Reasoning: The court stated that this case was not as the most contracts that manifestly declared the precise and explicit words to the damages that would happen in the future, even the amount of the damages was impossible to foresee or ascertain accurately.

That the large sum of 1,000l. should be immediately payable under the violation of the nonpayment of a very small sum was a penalty though the agreement declared that was not a penalty or in the nature of thereof.

And it was also not a liquidated damage that was only regarded under the uncertainty of the breach of the agreement and this kind of intention was not expressed by the parties.

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