Hawkins v Mcgee case brief + full opinion

here you will see the Hawkins v Mcgee case brief.

Hawkins v Mcgee is a landmark case on damages in American contract law.

Hawkins v Mcgee case raises important questions concerning whether a doctor’s promises can be considered as a contract, and how damages are computed when those promises have not been fulfilled.

This case is popularly known as the “Hairy Hand Case” or, sometimes, the “Case of the Hairy Hand” and it is commonly taught to every law student studying in a first-year Contracts class.

Here I will share with you the Hawkins v Mcgee case brief to help you understand everything you need to know about the Hawkins v Mcgee case in a simple and accurate way.

Interested in learning how to write your own case brief? learn here or you may check these case brief templates.

let’s get started

Hawkins v Mcgee case brief

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

Decided on June 4, 1929

by BRANCH, J. New Hampshire Supreme Court

Parties

George A. Hawkins is an Appellant and Edward R.B McGee is a Respondent.

Procedure

The trial court ruled in the Appellant’s favor. On Respondent’s motion, the trial court overturned the verdict as being excessive, Appellant appealed to New Hampshire Supreme Court which ordered a new trial.

Facts

Appellant’s hand was scarred from an electronic shot.

Respondent, a local doctor in Berlin, New Hampshire, asked Appellant’s father, Charles, about getting the scars repaired and promised to make the wounded hand a “hundred percent a good hand.”

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Respondent attempted to remove the scars using a method called “skin grafting” that he was unfamiliar with, but he was unsuccessful.

The transplant led the palm of Appellant’s hand to sprout thick hair because Respoendt used skin from his chest area.

Under the principle of breach of contract, Appellant was compensated for the anguish he had during the operation as well as the damage the operation had caused to his hand.

But the trial court, on Respondent’s motion, overturned the verdict as being excessive, as a result, Appellant filed this appeal.

Issue

what type of damages should be awarded?

Rule

To decide the case, the court applied the expectation damages rule which connotes that a contract’s damages should be awarded based on what the defendant should have given the plaintiff, not on what the plaintiff has actually given the defendant.

Reasoning

On applying the facts to the rule the court reasoned that the amount of damages awarded should be equivalent to the difference between what Hawkins was promised—a “100% good hand”—and what he actually received—a hairy palm—along with any incidental losses he suffered as a result of the breach.

Holding 

The type of damages that should be awarded is expectation damages.

Judgment

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

Read the full Judgment here

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Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Mzumbe University and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law school of Tanzania. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion.

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