Duke Football Escapes Contract on Grounds of Gridiron Futility

Mark Conrad of the the Sports Law Blog recently posted this article concerning University of Louisville v. Duke University, a breach of contract case arising from Duke’s decision to opt out of a 4-game football series with Louisville after one game: a 40-3 loss.  Louisville sought to recover under a liquidated damages clause that would require Duke to pay $150,000 per missed game, for a total of $450,000.

Duke took the position that Louisville was first required to mitigate its damages (an argument that failed when a New England Patriots club seat ticket holder was sued for breach of contract in Massachusetts).  More specifically, Duke argued that Louisville must try and schedule a “team of similar stature,” and only if Louisville failed to schedule such a team could it recover damages.  However, Duke argued that the threshold for finding a replacement team could not be any lower, considering Duke’s minimal success on the gridiron.

The court found in favor of Duke, which will apparently take its football victories wherever it can get them.

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