Background of 1978 Legal Case Against Brink’s Inc.
In March 1978, Brink’s Inc. was awarded a contract to collect coins from over 70,000 parking meters in New York City for
delivery to the City Department of Finance. Later, due to anonymous tips, the city became suspicious that not all of the
money collected was being returned to the city’s finance depository. The city noticed declining revenues from parking
meters. Through the use of salted coins (coins treated with a fluorescent substance, inserted into specific meters) and
surveillance cameras, five Brink’s employees were arrested and convicted of grand larceny. In fact, they had in their
possession $4,500 in stolen coins when arrested.
A civil suit filed by New York City alleged that Brink’s had acted negligently, and sought monetary compensation from Brink’s
for losses incurred by the criminal activities of its employees. Brink’s was found guilty of negligence and breach of contract.
However, it was still necessary to establish a realistic dollar amount for the damages.
Competing Views on Damages
The law allowed for the introduction of testimony regarding the estimation of damages as a matter of just and reasonable
inference. Although Brink’s contract had lasted 23 months, the expert and attorneys for New York City decided to
compare the last ten months of Brink’s contract with the first ten months of the subsequent contractor hired after the
dismissal of Brink’s in 1980, over which there was much greater oversight. The difference in revenues between these
sets of ten months was roughly $765,000. The city attorneys believed this difference was primarily explicable by theft,
and that damages should exceed this amount due to the length of the contract with Brink’s.
However, attorneys for Brink’s argued that the difference could be explained by other factors, such as seasonal variation in
parking meter collections or national trends affecting vehicle transportation. The expert witness for Brink’s argued that there
was an upward trend in collections during Brink’s contract, and that the gasoline shortage in the summer of 1979 could explain
some of the drop in revenue from parking meters, as was also the case for toll bridges and tunnels. He suggested that a
difference in revenue of over $2.2 million would be necessary to be observed in order to conclude that theft played a
significant role in the difference in collections.
The jury decided to set damages at $1 million. It was felt that the attorneys for Brink’s could not persuasively give firm evidence
of another factor besides theft clearly responsible for the smaller than expected revenue collections.
"Statistical Analysis of Brink's Data." Brink's Case Study Suggested Answer. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.
Consider each of the following statements. Does the information in the three sources support the inference as stated?
"The jury found that executives at Brink’s knowingly encouraged theft from parking meters."
"In order to satisfy the attorneys for Brink’s, it would be necessary to choose ten identical calendar months for the comparison made in Document 2."
"Even after extending the city’s ten-month estimate of losses to the length of the full contract with Brink’s, the attorneys for Brink’s would still argue against convincing evidence of theft."