Summary of Fera v. Village Plaza, Inc.
Supreme Court of Michigan, 1976.
Facts: P made a K with D to lease a unit in D’s Plaza for 10 years for the operation of a liquor and book store (??). D breached the K and rented the unit to some other tenant.
Procedure: A jury awarded P $200,000 for loss of anticipated profits in the proposed new business. Court of Appeals reversed.
Issue: Was P entitled to the loss of anticipated profits verdict?
Rationale: There is a history of cases where Ps were denied anticipated profits where the businesses were new. The reason was that it was considered speculative to decide what the profits for a new business were going to be. In these cases the awards were denied not because the businesses were new, but because the damage amount was speculative. In the current case, many trail days were spent on the issue of lost future profits. Ps presented many expert witnesses and the jury ultimately considered P’s case to be stronger. Therefore, it can not be said that the jury awarded P the damages without any reasonable certainty. It is not the role of this court to second guess the jury on factual evidence. Therefore, the ruling of the Court of Appeals has to be reversed.