KNOXVILLE (CN) – A phone book publisher is facing a trial on whether a company was damaged by the publisher’s failure to run its advertisement, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled.
Michael and Elizabeth Hannan sued Alltel Publishing for failing to run an ad for their two businesses – Tellico Plains Realty and Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast.
Alltel tried to make amends by running a supplement to the phone book, but the ad didn’t appear in the supplement, either. Alltel offered the next year’s ad for free, but the Hannans claimed the damage had been done.
The Hannans claimed their economic losses were so great that both businesses failed. They sued for $225,000.
The trial court granted summary judgment to Alltel, but the district court reversed, stating that Alltel had not refuted an essential element of the Hannans’ claim.
Justice Holder agreed, noting that while the Hannans’ tax returns did not prove they were damaged, they did not prove they were not damaged, either.
“Therefore,” Holder wrote, “Alltel’s reliance on the Hannans’ tax returns does not negate an essential element of the Hannans’ claim and does little more than cast doubt as to whether the Hannans lost income.”
Holder vacated the summary judgment and remanded for a new trial.