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Electronic Office Systems, Inc. v. Printing Craftsmen, Inc.

A-5632-99T1 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2001) (Unpublished)

DAMAGES—The rule relating to uncertainty of damages applies to the uncertainty as to the fact of damage and not as to its amount.

A company that sold printing and duplicating equipment delivered two pieces of equipment to a print shop, ostensibly for a short trial. The print shop held on to the machines for a month, during which time it produced approximately 80,000 photocopies with the machines. The Appellate Division accepted the evidence that the print shop “had continued to represent that it intended to purchase the machines and that every time that [the seller’s] representative attempted to visit [the print shop] to finalize a transaction, [the print shop] concocted some reason why its representative was unable to be present, or devised some other ruse to avoid [the seller’s] attempt to either complete the sale or retake possession of the equipment.” As a result, the Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the seller was entitled to quantum meruit recovery. The Court rejected the unsupported testimony of the seller that the lowest wholesale price of commercial copying was five cents per page. Instead, it upheld the lower court’s ruling for slightly lower damages. The print shop argued that there was no basis for the damage award because an award should be established with reasonable certainty. The Court cited an earlier ruling: “The rule relating to the uncertainty of damages applies to the uncertainty as to the fact of damage and not as to its amount, and where it is certain that damage has resulted, mere uncertainty as to the amount will not preclude the right of recovery.”

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