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Friday, February 11, 2005

Cases—Damages—No consequentials on first film venture

A film producer whose first film saw its opening spoiled by his Internet service provider's erroneous blocking of his e-mail notices,  couldn't muster enough evidence to allow the grant of consequential damages, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Independent producer Peter Hall had scheduled the premiere of his Delinquent ("Raw, restless, contemplative and haunting"—The Village Voice)  in New York City on September 12, 1997.  He had a personal account with an ISP, EarthLink.  He used that account to send out notices of the premiere, hoping to drum up business. EarthLink, thinking it was a spam e-mail, blocked his account.  It later determined, however, that he was in compliance with its rules and unblocked the account. Hall sued.

Applying California law, the court held that while damages for a new venture could be recovered if "their nature and occurrence can be shown by evidence of reasonable reliability," the producer, who had never made film before, could not show how much money it would have made if the ads for the new film had actually been delivered.

Hall v. EarthLink Network, Inc., 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 1230 (2d Cir. Jan. 25, 2005).

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