Toscano v. Greene Music, 124 Cal. App. 4th 685 (2004)

Joseph Toscano sued Greene Music on a theory of promissory estoppel after Toscano quit his job as a general manager of Fields Pianos to take a sales management position with Greene. Toscano resigned from Fields in reliance upon Greene’s promise of at-will employment. Two weeks before Toscano was scheduled to begin his new job, Greene withdrew the offer. Following a bench trial, the judge awarded Toscano $536,833 in lost-wage damages, including $417,772 in future lost earnings and benefits, which were calculated as the present value of the difference between what Toscano would have earned at Fields and what he would have earned at Greene through his expected retirement date in 2017. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment insofar as the calculation of damages was concerned on the ground that the damages awarded by the trial court were speculative. The Court held that Toscano’s future wage loss should have been measured by the amount of wages he would have expected to earn from Fields but for Greene’s unfulfilled promise; the Court remanded the matter for a new trial on the issue of damages only