Fact Pattern
Brian Rocknoll owns a small outdoor supply store in Bloomington, Indiana. He is also an avid funk music fan. His store is called “Tent-It-And-Quit-It”, or TIAQI (tee-ah-qui) as the locals call it. He just placed a rather large order of several thousand custom tents, camp chairs, and blankets from a wholesaler called Eastlake Outdoors. Each item will have his logo and slogan, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Tent”. To place the order, he sent in a physical order form, through USPS. The form was postmarked 2/25/2022. Satisfied that he had done a good week’s work, he closed up the shop and headed home for the weekend.
Over the weekend, he worked on his side hustle as a black-market luthier. Bloomington is home to one of the largest music schools in the country, so there are a lot of instruments that need to be fixed, but the “Cello Guild” tries to keep independent artisans out of the picture. Brian repairs instruments in his shop after hours, and attempts to keep it secret from the Cello Guild, which requires a license to fix instruments. On Saturday, he gets a call from Joshua Bell, who needs his violin repaired ASAP, but he has been black balled by the Cello Guild. He offers Brian $100,000 to fix it on Sunday. They do not write a contract, given the clandestine nature of the work, but Brian does record the phone conversation. He repairs the violin as requested on Sunday.
On Monday, Brian realizes that he mistakenly added a zero to his order with Eastlake, and he clearly did not need thousands of tents, but rather hundreds. The order as he sent it in would bankrupt his business. He writes up a letter and mails it to Eastlake on Tuesday (3/1/2022). On Monday, Eastlake received Brian’s initial order and began manufacture on the custom order. They did not receive Brian’s modification to the order until Thursday, and had already manufactured half of the requested tents.
Two weeks later, Brian calls Joshua Bell, but is unable to reach him, since he used a burner phone to arrange the details of the violin repair. Brian has still not been paid for his work on Joshua’s violin. Brian works with his local attorney (Ken Nunn) to file a claim against Joshua, including both compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages in excess of $1M. He claims that because he did not get paid in time, he was unable to see Earth, Wind, and Fire in their final performance, and that experience is “priceless.”
That same day, Brian receives his custom order from Eastlake. He accepts the hundreds of tents that he believes he ordered, and declines the rest of the custom pieces, sending them back to Eastlake. One week later, Eastlake calls him requesting payment in full. If he refuses, they will sue him.
What is the likely outcome of Eastlake v. Rocknoll? Why? What are the likely damages?
What is the likely outcome of Rocknoll v. Bell? Why? What are the likely damages?


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