Explain Ordinary Damages, Special Damages, Exemplary Damages and Quantum Meruit.

Ordinary or general damages: 

When a contract has been broken, the injured party can recover from the guilty party ordinary damages. Ordinary damages are damages which fairly and reasonably be considered as arising naturally and directly in the usual course of things from the breach of contract itself. Damages, that are the direct or the proximate consequences of the breach of contract, can be described as ordinary damages. The amount of damages is measured by the difference between the contract price and the market price on the date of breach.

Example: H’s mill was stopped by a breakage of the crankshaft. He delivered the shaft to B, a common carrier, to take it to a manufacturer to copy it and make a new one. The carrier was just asked to carry the broken shaft and was not informed that delay would cause loss of profits to H. B delivered the shaft beyond a reasonable time. With the result, the mill remained idle for a longer period. H claimed loss of profits for the delayed period. Held, B was not liable for loss of profits, as it was not a direct consequence of the breach.

Special damages:

Special damages are those resulting from a breach of contract under some special circumstances and the existence of special
circumstances must be known to the party who has broken the contract. knowledge of special circumstances must be on the date of the contract, subsequent knowledge of special circumstances will not create any special liability.

Quantum meruit: 

Quantum meruit means as much as he has earned. Suing an quantum meruit is suing for the value of so much as is done. The injured party can sue for quantum meruit, i.e., if the injured party has done a part of what he was bound to do under the contract, and if the breach operates as discharge and if what the injured part has done, can be estimated in money value, the injured party can sue either for damages for the breach of contract or for quantum meruit, i.e., for the value of so much as he has already done. A claim on quantum meruit shall arise only when the contract is divisible.

Example: X places an order with Y for the supply of 50 chairs to be delivered in installments. Y delivers 15 chairs when X informs him that he does not require any chairs. In this case X’s repudiation discharges Y from the obligation to supply the remaining chairs. Y can sue X for the breach of contract or for the value of 15 chairs already supplied. The latter will be called suit for quantum meruit

Tags: B.Com

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