Hanging on our walls in our downstairs Richmond office is various artwork, sports memorabilia and photographs. I have a special interest in sports memorabilia and have always tried to collect in specific areas, rather than trying to cover all sports.
I suppose that my legal background draws me to sports contracts. So as a sports fan with a legal bend, I began to collect, among other things, sports memorabilia that included sports contracts.
On our wall hangs several contracts. I took this picture, from our office wall, of the one below. It is former major league baseball player Reggie Jackson’s baseball rookie contract. He signed this on April 6, 1973. It is also signed by former Oakland Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley. It shows that he was to receive a salary of $35,000 with a deferred amount after his retirement, in the amount of $40,000.
When most people walk past the contract hanging on the hallway wall, they don’t notice it. Others stop and look at it and sometimes ask about it.
From the AP and Richmond Times-Dispatch comes a story of a recent auction that brought over $883,000 that included a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair from his death bed that sold for $25,000 as well as the following items and their totals:
–a clipping of linen from Lincoln’s death bed and stained with Lincoln’s blood, for $6,000.
— an1864 letter signed by Lincoln and authorizing prisoner-of-war swap involving Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s son from a Union POW camp, for $27,500.
— A display of photographs and autographs from Lincoln, Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot and killed Booth — a set nicknamed “The Martyr, The Assassin and The Avenger” — which sold for $30,000.
— a set of four oil paintings created for a carnival side show displaying the mummified remains of a man claimed to be Booth, for $30,000.
— Booth’s military arrest warrant, for $21,250.
— a framed White House Funeral Admittance Card, for $11,875.
— a letter signed by Mary Todd Lincoln on her personal mourning stationary, for $10,625.
Do you put any value on a baseball contract? When you read about these Lincon items, how does it hit you? Can you imagine people buying these? Does it seem a bit macabre. (I have always wanted to use that word!)
Here’s the analogy to the legal blog. In our jury trials, we call witnesses to testify to losses that clients have suffered. It’s easy to put a value on medical expenses because we already have totals.
It’s the losses that don’t have a direct dollar value that are hardest to be considered. What one person may put as a significant loss, may not impact the juror sitting next to them.
What is the value to a client who can no longer workout and then gains a significant amount of weight because of it? What is the value of pain and not being able to lift small kids; or the value of a scar, or no longer being able to wear high heels because of the ankle pain.
We all have heard “what’s one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. The legal concept of damages. In a jury trial, putting value to loss and harm is what all juries are asked to do in arriving at a verdict. What is the injury worth?
And for pic o’ day, I suppose this would be a tough jury for a dog bite case: