Cement, Etc., supra, 474 Pa. at 209, 378 A.2d at 293.
Alternatively, the defendant contends that the award of consequential damages is precluded under Section 2-715(2) of the code since the plaintiff failed to perform an adequate inspection of the tubing to ensure that conforming goods were incorporated in the finished product. While the defendant restates the law correctly, the underlying facts do not support his position.
Section 2-715(2)(a) of the Code provides, in part, for the award of consequential damages resulting from seller's breach "which could not reasonably be prevented by cover or otherwise."
Hence, the dispositive question is whether the plaintiff's actions upon receipt of the goods were commercially reasonable.
The testimony establishes that upon receipt of the tubing from Rimar, the plaintiff performed various tests to insure that the goods conformed to specifications as to length, width, inside and outside diameter, and quantity. TR. 2.37. Furthermore, the product certification of tubing grade forwarded by the defendant was compared to the corresponding bills of lading to verify that the tubing shipped was actually nylon 11. TR. 2.38. It is undisputed that the tubing shipped was nonconforming nylon 6 and that the plaintiff was unaware of the certification error until an investigation into the keg failures was instituted. Moreover, the defendant acknowledged that the plaintiff relied on the certification of product grade. TR. 2.83. The significance of the plaintiff's reliance on the manufacturer's certification is heightened since it is not disputed that nylon 6 and nylon 11 are identical in color and texture. The distinction can only be detected by infrared spectroscopy which was unavailable at the plaintiff's plant. TR. 2.39 & 2.82.
The jury was properly instructed as to the applicable law under Section 2-715(2)(a) of the Code. By awarding damages, the jury implicitly found that the product defect could not reasonably have been discovered under the foregoing circumstances. There is ample evidence to support this conclusion. And while a spectroscopic examination would have further enhanced the accuracy of the plaintiff's inspection procedure, I cannot say that Section 2-715(2)(a) imposes such a burdensome duty as a matter of law. See Lewis v. Mobil Oil Corp., 438 F.2d 500, 509 (8th Cir. 1971). Therefore, in view of the acknowledgment by the defendant of plaintiff's reliance on the certifications of tubing grade and the impossibility of manual detection of grade variance, the question of the reasonableness of the efforts expended by the plaintiff to detect the defect was properly for the jury. See Hanna Lumber Co. v. Neff, 265 Ark. 462, 579 S.W.2d 95, 98 (1979).
Defendant also attacks various items of consequential damages which the jury found properly attributable to the breach of contract. Specifically, defendant contends that the awards of: (1) bank interest charges in the amount of $ 120,420.05; (2) lost profits in the amount of $ 95,975.00; and (3) a percentage of the manufacturing costs reflecting overhead, were improper. These contentions are equally without merit.
A two pronged attack is leveled at the award of interest charges on the bank loan obtained by the plaintiff. First, the defendant asserts that the court abused its discretion in permitting testimony of such interest charges since the damage claim was not formally pleaded or included in the pre-trial order. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 and Local Rule 21(d)(2)a. At trial, I found that the circumstances in this case fit the exception in Rule 16 and Local Rule 21 authorizing amendments "to prevent manifest injustice", and allowed the introduction of evidence of interest charges with certain qualifications. Nothing, brought to the attention of the court, requires reconsideration of this ruling. Exclusion of such an appreciable amount of damages from jury consideration would surely be unjust. Moreover, the failure of the defendant to designate the precise contours of prejudice claimed or to request a continuance at trial reinforces my view that the ruling was within the allowable range of the trial judge's discretion.
See Moore v. Sylvania Electric Products, Inc., 454 F.2d 81, 84 (3rd Cir. 1972), Wendkos v. ABC Consolidated Corp., 379 F. Supp. 15, 18 (E.D.Pa.1974); Carl Beasley Ford, Inc. v. Burroughs Corp., 361 F. Supp. 325, 335 (E.D.Pa.1973), aff'd, 493 F.2d 1400 (3rd Cir. 1974).
Defendant further argues that such an award of interest on the loans obtained by the plaintiff to avoid financial disaster during the period of repair and replacement of the malfunctioning dispensing devices is not properly an item of consequential damages. Similar awards of accrued interest for financing capital losses, however, have been properly sustained as an element of consequential damages. See Chatlos Systems v. National Cash Register Corp., 479 F. Supp. 738, 744 n.5 (D.N.J.1979); Diversified Environments v. Olivetti Corp., 461 F. Supp. 286, 292 (M.D.Pa.1978); Carl Beasley Ford, Inc. v. Burroughs Corp., supra, 361 F. Supp. at 334; Willred Co. v. Westmoreland Metal Mfg. Co., 200 F. Supp. 59, 69 (E.D.Pa.1961); Certain-Teed Products Corp. v. Goslee Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., 26 Md.App. 452, 339 A.2d 302, 314-15 (1975). Where a seller provides defective goods to a manufacturer with knowledge that they are to be used in the manufacturing process, it is reasonable to assume that the consequent disruption of production will cause financial difficulties for the buyer especially when the buyer is heavily dependent on one product for its financial success as in the case at bar. Accordingly, I cannot say as a matter of law that reasonable men in the position of the parties would not have foreseen the loss of bank interest charges as a probable result of the breach. See R. I. Lampus Co. v. Neville Cement, Etc., supra, 474 Pa. at 207, 378 A.2d at 291.
Defendant's second quarrel is with the jury's award of lost profits as an item of consequential damages. The argument proceeds on the premise that the loss of profits award was based upon a loss in business because of customer dissatisfaction or more appropriately, "loss of goodwill", and not loss of particular sales. It cannot be questioned that "(u)nder Pennsylvania law, a plaintiff may not recover for loss of profits to a business because of customer dissatisfaction or loss of goodwill." Neville Chemical Co. v. Union Carbide Corp., 422 F.2d 1205, 1225 (3rd Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 826, 91 S. Ct. 51, 27 L. Ed. 2d 55 (1970). See also, Eastern Dental Corp. v. Isaac Masel Co. Inc., 502 F. Supp. 1354 (E.D.Pa.1980). Pennsylvania strictly adheres to this rule and, therefore, the defendant's argument must be carefully considered and the record closely scrutinized.
The failure to realize expected profits is a compensable loss resulting from a breach of contract. Hahn v. Andrews, 182 Pa.Super. 338, 344, 126 A.2d 519, 521 (1956). It is the burden of the party "seeking damages for breach of contract ... to prove such damages with reasonable certainty."
Wilcox v. Regester, 417 Pa. 475, 484, 207 A.2d 817, 822 (1965). The amount of damage suffered, however, may be determined in any reasonable manner and proof with mathematical certainty is not required. E. C. Ernst, Inc. v. Koppers & Co., Inc., 626 F.2d 324, 327 (3rd Cir. 1980); English Whipple Sailyard, LTD. v. Yawl Ardent, 459 F. Supp. 866, 877 (W.D.Pa.1978). The various methods of proof of lost profits are not mutually exclusive, but often one method is more feasible than others. One traditional method is evidence of past profitability in an established business which furnishes a reasonable basis for estimating future profits. Willred Co. v. Westmoreland Metal Mfg. Co., supra, 200 F. Supp. at 64; Mass. Bonding & Ins. Co. v. Johnston & Harder Inc., 343 Pa. 270, 279, 22 A.2d 709, 714 (1941) (citing S. Williston, Williston on Contracts, § 1346A.). "While damages cannot be based on a mere guess or speculation, yet where the amount may be fairly estimated from the evidence, a recovery will be sustained even though such amount cannot be determined with entire accuracy." Osterling v. Frick et al, Executors, 284 Pa. 397, 403, 131 A. 250, 251-52 (1925).
In this case, the plaintiff's comptroller presented extensive testimony concerning the company's past profitability. TR. 4.23-25, 5.25-32, 5.59-61. The defendant meticulously cross-examined the witness on these figures. TR. 5.31-35. Furthermore, on cross-examination the witness conceded that he did not have personal knowledge of the exact amount of sales lost because of the defective dispensing units. TR. 5.33-35. The jury apparently was cognizant of the disputed lost profit figure and the court's instructions
since it rejected the plaintiff's figure for lost profits which was almost double the amount actually awarded. TR. 5.61. In view of the proposition that the evaluation of damages is typically a question for the jury
and the wealth of evidence presented at trial, I cannot conclude that the jury award was mere speculation. The evidentiary basis upon which an estimate of lost profits could have been made was sufficient under Pennsylvania law. See Franklin Music v. American Broadcasting Co., 616 F.2d 528, 546 (3rd Cir. 1979); Ashcraft v. C. G. Hussey & Co., 359 Pa. 129, 132-33, 58 A.2d 170, 172 (1948). In breach of warranty cases such as the one at bar the law recognizes the difficulty of accurately proving damages.
Thus, the reasonable basis for damages that the law requires bars only those damages which "are not the certain result of the wrong, not ... those damages which are definitely attributable to the wrong and only uncertain in respect of their amount." Story Parchment Co. v. Paterson Parchment Paper Co., 282 U.S. 555, 562, 51 S. Ct. 248, 250, 75 L. Ed. 544 (1931).
Defendant's final contention that the award of excess manufacturing costs attributable to manufacturing overhead is not recoverable is incorrect under the law of Pennsylvania. The manufacturing costs were expended to repair and replace the defective dispensing units. TR. 4.32-43. Additional time in operation of the plant was clearly required to remedy the breach, thus, manufacturing overhead attributable to that extra work is a proper item of damages. United States v. Curtis T. Bedwell & Sons, Inc., 506 F. Supp. 1324, 1331 (E.D.Pa.1981); Royal Pioneer Paper Box Mfg. Co. v. DeJonge, 179 Pa.Super. 155, 166, 115 A.2d 837, 842 (1955).
While I have not discussed the evidentiary errors alleged by the defendant in support of its motion for a new trial, I have considered all of the contentions and conclude that my rulings at trial were correct. No further discussion of the merits of these contentions is warranted. Consequently, the defendant's post-trial motions are denied.