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I hired a caterer to come to my house and cook for 60 guests. He called me 4 hours before he was due to arrive, and canceled.

Weston, MA |

I mitigated and called an italian caterer who delivered food 4 hours later. The original caterer is a well-known kiosk bbq guy. The italian food I received was ok, but not great.
The issue is breach of contract. My damages are having to scramble, serve up food did not want. If I had canceled on the cater, he would have kept my deposit! Do I have any recourse?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Sounds like, if you do, it would be in small claims court, where you can seek damages of up to $7,000.00.

  2. While this was embarrassing and annoying, contract damages are based on monetary loss. If you had had to pay more to cover, the difference would have been recoverable damages. Since you didn’t, I don’t see where you could recover. Next time try for a liquidated damages clause. Such a clause agrees that damages would be difficult to measure in the event of a breach, and in effect gives the plaintiff a penalty, although you can’t call it that.

    DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in California. (Bryant) Keith Martin

  3. I agree that the measure of your damages would be the difference in price between the caterer you originally contracted with and the replacement contractor, if any. Hopefully, you got your deposits back. If you incurred other monetary damages as a result of the caterer's breach, you could include that in your demand and suit - for example only - if you had to pay an additional $1,000 on a tent rental because the event was delayed, etc.

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