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Damages: When More Than What You Lost Is Not Enough

From the Business Conflict Blog of Peter Phillips.

The indispensible blog Above the Law has recently posted a depressing bit of news. Certain ticket holders to the 2011 Super Bowl could not be accomodated because the temporarily-installed seats that they purchased proved to be unsafe for use. The NFL expressed its regret by offering the disappointed purchasers their choice of either (a) $2,400 in cash — i.e., three times the value of the tickets they purchased — or (b) a seat to any future Super Bowl of their choosing, plus round-trip airfare, plus hotel accomodations.

In any other context, this would be the opening offer of a negotiation and it would be a pretty good one.

In the context of American dispute resolution, however, it was an invitation to sue. For $5,000,000. Further information on the lawsuits filed by certain of these ticketholders can be found here.

I don’t have a lot of wisdom to impart here, just a sort of shake of the head. One party sold something it later transpired to be impossible to deliver. The other party received an apology and was offered a value far exceeding the original purchase. In what other society would two such parties not talk, not discuss, not negotiate for more, but instead pay an attorney?

                        author

F. Peter Phillips

F. Peter Phillips is a commercial arbitrator and mediator with substantial experience providing consultation on the management of business disputes to companies around the globe. A cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and a magna cum laude graduate of New York Law School, Mr. Phillips served for nearly ten years… MORE >

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