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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Exam Question of the Day

Bozeman, Montana, may not seem like a major venue for hip-hop music, but a local promoter there is suing a California company after a group of artists backed out from a gig at his "Justus Hip Hop Emporium."

It’s a dispute that bears a striking resemblance to one of those cute exam questions we often inflict on students.  See, Justus's owner, Josh Perkins, had an agreement with JL Entertainment to bring rappers Warren G and Nate Dogg to town.  Perkins paid a $3,500 fee.  The rappers, however, subsequently discovered a scheduling conflict and canceled.

Still hoping to do the concert, Perkins and JL subsequently agreed to a new deal.  This time JL agreed to provide a much bigger act, Westside Connection, whose star was actor/rapper Ice Cube.  Perkins agreed to pay considerably more for the bigger act, another $21,500.  But just before the concert—apparently without fault on either side—Cube left the band.   Perkins says JL "pressured" him to go ahead with the concert without telling anyone that the star wouldn’t be there.  He refused.

Hope springs eternal, though, and so the parties again tried to work something out. Since Perkins had already paid $25,000, JL agreed to bring yet another act, Petey Pablo & the Liks, to town for that price—but two days before the show demanded an additional $11,000.  Perkins refused.

Perkins has paid JL a total of $25,000, and incurred $6,000 in promotion costs.  His business fell off as irate customers came in to return tickets, his investors, many of them family members, have lost money and are really irritated at him, he's been reduced to booking much smaller shows, and he now has gray hair.

What are his damages? Please explain.  Don't forget to make any counter-arguments.

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