You be the judge

You be the judge

William Donaldson

A week before he was to be married, hefty Hector Hickkenlooper took his wedding suit to the cleaner and told him he needed it back in time for the ceremony. “Day after tomorrow at the latest,” the cleaner assured him. But, somehow, the suit was misplaced. Came the wedding day, and Hector could not borrow or buy another suit big enough to fit him. So he had to wear a mussy old one. The wedding guests guffawed at his ludicrous appearance, and his bride was furious. As soon as he got back from his honeymoon, Hector sued the cleaner for the cost of his lost suit and $2500 in damages for his anguish and humiliation.

“Because the cleaner lost my best suit, I looked like a pauper instead of a prince at my own wedding,” Hector said. “He knew I needed that suit to be married in, too, so he should have been especially careful.”

“Admittedly I did wrong by Hector,” the cleaner replied, “but a man who is getting married should have at least one presentable spare suit of clothes to his name. As Hector didn’t, he is as responsible for his embarrassment and humiliation as I am. I’ll pay for his lost suit, but nothing more.”

If you were the judge, would you soak the cleaner for damages?

Hector won the cost of a new suit plus damages, but the court, deciding he was not damaged to the extent of $2500, fixed the compensation for his humiliation at $350.

Based upon a 1952 Louisiana decision.

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