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St. Johns University School of Law
Kniffen, Margaret N.

Contracts I

Case: Sullivan and O’Connor deals with contractual services provided between a patient and a doctor. As a result of an unsuccessful surgery the
Π was disfigured and the Δ, doctor, failed to deliver on his promise. The doctor was found liable and it became a matter of deciding the appropriate damages. The court held that expectation damages in this case would be too excessive and that restitution would be insufficient. It concluded that reliance would be the best remedy.

Restitution Damages (Unjust Enrichment, Quasi-Contract):

Repaying the Π for any amount or benefit bestowed on the Δ by the Π.
Requirements for restitution
Δ did receive a benefit (e.g. doctors fee); and
The benefit was at the Π expense; and
It would be unjust to allow the Δ to keep the benefit; and
Other Damages:
Punitive Damages:

She stressed that punitive damages do not apply for contracts ….so don’t look for it.
Nominal Damages:

When the Π prove a technical invasion of rights but cannot prove damages, the court may award a minimal sum, such as $1.These do apply in contract law…if you see it in a contract case…there must be a tort element. The benefit was not intended as a gift…(it was exchanged for something)
Non-Monetary Damages
Specific Performance:

In the case when a product is priceless or not purchasable elsewhere, the courts may seek specific performance on the part of the sellerànon-compliance may result in contempt or even jail time.

Courts steer away from specific performance when it pertains to goods for a number of reasons which includeàthe seller may now send a different qualityàthe product is available on the open market.
B) Three Elements to a valid contract are:
C) Gifts are NOT enforceable:

D) Promise v. Performance:
E) Unilateral v. Bilateral
1. Unilateral Contract – When the offeror makes a promise seeking performance.
2. Bilateral Contract – When there is a promise on both sides.

F) Becomes Binding

Monetary Damages (3 Types)
(Some can be taken together)
Expectation Damages:
(4 Types)

Cover Formula

Market Value Formula

Incidental Damages

Consequential Damages

“Chain Reaction Damages”àEvents that resulted from the breach.
E.g. Costs associated with the buyer breaching with a third party as a result of the original seller’s breach.


Any expenditure or detriment made by the Π following foreseeably from the Δ failure to carry out a promise. – [Governed by the UCC §2-715]E.g. Costs for requisitioning cover, transportation, care and custody of the goods, etc.
Costs directly resulting from the delay or breach. – [Governed by the UCC §2-715]It is important to realize that even if the buyer did not cover, he was still entitled to those goods at the contracted price. For instance, what if the b

in the field as an arbitrator.It is much quicker
Advantages:Disadvantage to Arbitration: Is usually an agreement between both parties to have any contract issues determined by an arbitrator.

In Hamer V Sidway the uncle is requesting performance because he stated that the money would be given once you perform the following…but he could have said I will give you the money if you promise to…
Promise: The contract becomes valid immediately when the promise is made. The offeror is bound to the contract terms immediately. Performance: The contract becomes valid only when the offeree fully performs his end of the bargain. Until then there is no binding contract.
The difference between performance and promise:The person making an offer can either request a promise or request performance. If it can be shown that the exchange was one sided (a gift) there is no contract; not enforceable. Objectives of K law
1. Consideration
2. Offer
3. Acceptance
Damages -When dealing with contracts, the law wants to put the person back to where they would have been if the contract were not breached.Contractual Breach – When dealing with breach we are mostly concerned with redressing the person who suffered a breach and not to punish or compel performance.