Albert Hochster v. Edgar De La Tour

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Albert Hochster v. Edgar De La Tour
Court In the Queen’s Bench
Citation 2 E. & B. 678, 118 Eng. Rep. 922 [1853]
Date decided 1853

Relevant Facts

Plaintiff was a courier who contracted with the defendant to accompany him on a trip to commence on June 1, 1852. On May 11th the defendant wrote to the plaintiff that he changed his mind, and declined his services, refusing to make him any compensation. The plaintiff filed the action on May 22nd and then before the action proceeded the plaintiff agreed with another man to accompany him on a trip on June 1st.


Procedural History

Plaintiff filed suit for breach of contract, and defendant objected that he could not have breached the contract until June 1st. Defendant also claimed that plaintiff should have remained ready and willing to enter into the contract if he was not contented to dissolve the contract.


Issues

  • 1) Whether one who wrongfully renounces a contract into which he had deliberately entered into can justifiably complain if he is immediately sued for compensation in damages when the date of “violation” has not yet come.
  • 2) Whether one who knows of breach of the other party must remain ready and willing to fulfill his part of the contract.

Holding/Decision: Judgment for the plaintiff.


Reasoning

  • 1) If a party has rendered it impossible to perform his end of the contract before the day comes which he is to perform, his is instantly liable for breach.
  • 2) It is reasonable after the renunciation of an agreement by the other party to consider yourself resolved from any future performance of it, thus retaining the right to sue for damages suffered by the breach.