Modern interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Atlas Moving Company advertises as follows: “We are the ones who care. Trust our people to move your most cherished possessions as carefully as you would.”

Glen, a professional pianist, and harpsichordist, is famed for his modern interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. On moving from New Haven to Los Angeles to become a pianist in residence at the University of Southern California, Glen hired Atlas to move his valued antique harpsichord, along with other household furniture. The month was April, and one Larson (an experienced mover for Atlas) picked up and loaded Glen’s possessions on the 12th and drove straight to Los Angeles, arriving there on the 16th. When the shipment arrived, Glen discovered a deep crack in the inner casing of the harpsichord, which severely impaired its tonal quality.

Glen sues Atlas for $20,000, supporting his damage claim with expert testimony. Glen himself testifies that he plays the instrument nearly every day and that it was in perfect condition when Atlas picked it up in New Haven.

Atlas introduces the deposition of Keenan, another accomplished keyboard artist in New Haven. The transcript contains Keenan’s testimony that he played Glen’s harpsichord in New Haven and noticed the crack in the casing at the time, along with impaired tonality.

At the close of the evidence, Glen requests the court to instruct the jury that if it finds that the harpsichord was undamaged when Larson picked it up, it must find Atlas responsible for damage to the instrument.



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