Mandating refundable deposits on
Most people in the wedding business know you have to protect your time and resources.
States differ on how stringently they interpret the terms of a contract. The LDC in the contract was captioned “In addition, You understand that the service provided by the Orchestra/Performers is unique and that the Orchestra/Performers makes arrangements to provide music a substantial time before the Date of the Engagement.
For instance, New York considers an LDC for the entire value of the contract a penalty, and where there is any doubt at all, considers an LDC a penalty. You understand that the Orchestra/Performers will engage musicians to appear on the Date of Engagement.
As stated, the LDC must reflect a good faith effort to estimate the damages suffered from a breach, or should represent a value amount of the contract that you would be happy with if the bride bailed at a particular point in time prior to the wedding.
Courts typically require the amount to be reasonable and that the harm suffered (your damages if the bride cancels) be difficult to accurately quantify at the time of the breach.
These are called “expectation damages.” For example, a bride cancels her $5,000.00 contract with a caterer.
The caterer may sue the bride for breach of contract.
Let’s say that the caterer’s costs (food and employees) totaled ,000.
The expectation damages are ,000, or the value of the contract less the expenses (,000 – ,000).
Where the purpose is punishment, an LDC becomes a penalty and is no longer enforceable. LEXIS 840 (2008)) In June 2003, Vincent Morrocco, through Barry Herman, hired the Cashmere Thirteen to play his daughter’s wedding August 2004. Less than a month before the date, the wedding was postponed until October 2005.
Often, courts find sums that are too large or unrelated to the loss suffered to be penalties, but the burden will be on the challenging party to prove the unreasonableness. Morrocco signed another contract, and paid a ,000 deposit. When his daughter canceled again, Morrocco sued to recover the ,300 he paid in deposits, challenging the clause as a penalty. Not only did he lose in New Jersey superior court, Morocco lost again on appeal.
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