Hawkins v. McGee Case Brief

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					Hawkins v. McGee 84 N.H. 114, 146 A. 641 (N.H. 1929)

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This case is the standard for contract remedies/contract damages. The standard is to give enough money to put one is the position they would be in if the contract had gone through. This is called expectation damages. This is also called benefit of the bargain. Doctor promised that an operation would make a patient's hand '100% perfect'. It was a very explicit claim, unlike most doctor patient claims that are vague (i.e. "You'll be fine" "I'll do my best") The question of whether or not this single statement constitutes a contract was not decided, because that wasn't the only thing the doctor said. (The doctor solicited the patient for the operation, and the doctor wanted to experiment on skin grafting.) Case was strictly a breach of contract. It was not a malpractice/negligence situation. (Not a tort) Judge told the jury to "award the plaintiff for what pain and suffering he has been made to endure, and for what injury he has sustained over and above what injury he had before." Appellate court overruled. o Appellate court said, "purpose of the law is to put the plaintiff in as good a position as he would have been in if the contract had been kept." o Therefore, pain and suffering doesn't count, since surgery would always include pain  Plus, pain and suffering is only relevant as a tort and the doctor was not found negligent. o However, damages are due because even if the hand was the same, it still isn't as good as it would be if the contract had been kept. It is difficult to determine the exact value of the loss of use of a hand.

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