Kenford Co. v. County of Erie

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Facts: Kenford entered into a contract with Erie County. Erie was to build a dome stadium within 12 months of the contract date and DSI would lease the stadium for 40 yrs. If no mutually acceptable lease could be agreed upon within 3 months, a separate contract would be executed that the stadium would be operated by DSI for 20 years after the availability of the stadium. A lease was never agreed upon, and construction was never started.

Procedural History: After 10 years of pretrial and preliminary proceedings, plaintiffs received judgment for a multimillion dollar verdict. Appellate ct. modified judgment, reversing the amount of damages for lost profits and some out-of-pocket expenses.

Issue: Can contemplated lost profits for a future twenty-year period be awarded as damages?

Holding: future lost profits that are not proven with certainty can't be awarded as damages.

Reasons: Profits in the entertainment industry are very difficult to predict. It is uncertain. The new business rule says that a new business doesn't have any history of profits, so predictions of future profits are harder to determine.

Judgment: Affirmed

Comments: Loss of future profits must be: (1) demonstrated with certainty that such damages have been caused by the breach, and (2) capable of proof with reasonable certainy.