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Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Unilateral Offer for Return of Laptop Enforced to the Tune of $1 Million

As reported here in the New York Post, hip hop artist and producer, Ryan Leslie, offered via YouTube video a $1 million reward for the return of a lost laptop and external hard drive.  

 

Mr. Leslie laptop and an external hard drive were allegedly stolen while he was touring in Cologne.  Plaintiff Armin Augstein claimed to have foudn the missing items while walking his dog.  He returnd the property to the German police and claimed his reward when notified of its existence. 

According to the Post, Mr. Leslie gave two explanations for his refusal to pay the reward.  First, Mr. Leslie suggested that Mr. Augstein may have been in on the heist, since he found the laptop fifteen miles from where the theft allegedly took place.  Second, Mr. Leslie claimed that his duty to pay was contingent on his ability to retrieve certain musical tracks from the external hard drive, something Mr. Leslie claimed he was unable to do. Because Mr. Leslie had returned the hard drive to the manufacturer, the judge informed the jury that they should assume that Mr. Leslie could have retrieved the tracks before doing so.

During jury deliberations, Mr. Leslie's attorneys attempted to settled, but plaintiff refused.  After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a decision awarding plaintiff the full $1 million.  His lawyer commented that Mr. Augstein was due not just a "thank you" but an apology.  The law requires only a check.

[JT]

 

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