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Hawkins v Mcgee case brief + full Case

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.

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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


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


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.


The 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 Appellant’s right-hand scars repaired and replaced it with skin from his chest and promised to make the wounded hand a “hundred percent a good hand.”

The doctor also said, “I will guarantee to make the hand a hundred percent perfect hand or a hundred percent good hand.”

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 the Appellant’s hand to sprout thick hair because Respondent used skin from his chest area.

Under the principle of breach of contract, the 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, the Appellant filed this appeal.


what type of damages should be awarded?


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.


On applying the facts to the rule the court reasoned that the number 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.


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


The New Hampshire Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

Read the full Judgment here

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Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Isack Kimaro, a lawyer, Creative Writer and self-taught SEO expert has been a prominent author of law-related topics since 2017. Through hard work, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge, Isack has successfully navigated the legal industry by providing valuable and easy-to-understand legal information to 500,000+ individuals of all levels of understanding.