damages

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damages,

money award that the judgment of a court requires the defendant in a suit to pay to the plaintiff as compensation for the loss or injury inflicted. Damages are the form of legal redress most commonly sought. With a few exceptions, English courts of law traditionally afforded only this remedy, while the grant of damages in courts of equityequity,
principles of justice originally developed by the English chancellor. In Anglo-American jurisprudence equitable principles and remedies are distinguished from the older system that the common law courts evolved.
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 was solely incidental to other relief, such as injunctioninjunction,
in law, order of a court directing a party to perform a certain act or to refrain from an act or acts. The injunction, which developed as the main remedy in equity, is used especially where money damages would not satisfy a plaintiff's claim, or to protect personal
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. The purpose of damages is to compensate the injured party for the loss that he has suffered and will probably suffer from the defendant's illegal conduct. Thus, in a suit for physical injuries the plaintiff may seek recovery for the pain he endured and his accrued medical expenses and for probable loss of earnings due to disability during the period of his incapacity. In suing for breach of contract the plaintiff need not prove the extent of his loss if the contract specified the "liquidated" damages, i.e., the probable loss from breach. Where there is a question as to the amount of damages, the jury usually makes the assessment. While the ordinary object of damages is simply to compensate the injured party to the extent of the injury, where there was fraud or deliberate wrongdoing, exemplary or punitive damages may be allowed. Many statutes thus provide for double or treble damages. In some instances where the extent of the loss cannot be determined or the injury is slight, nominal damages (e.g., a dollar) may be granted. Usually the losing party is required to reimburse the winning party for having put him to legal expense. In England reasonable counsel fees are recoverable, while in the United States only those expenses fixed by statute are recoverable. In some U.S. states, however, even the winning party may be required to pay compensation if by delay or other improper conduct he added to his opponent's legal costs. When damages and legal costs are awarded they become a lienlien,
claim or charge held by one party, on property owned by a second party, as security for payment of some debt, obligation, or duty owed by that second party. A lien may arise by agreement between the parties or by operation of law from the relation of the parties or the
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 on the debtor's property, which the creditor may seize and sell if the debtor does not meet his obligation. In some states, if the debtor attempts to put his property out of reach, an injunction ordering him to pay may be issued. During the 1990s conservatives pursuing "tort reform" prevailed on many state legislatures to enact laws limiting damages, but state courts have consistently voided these laws as violations of state constitutional guarantees of open court systems.

Damages

 

(also losses), in civil law, undesirable consequences to the property of a party to civil legal relations, resulting from a violation of law committed by another party.

In Soviet law, the definition of damages is given in civil legislation (art. 36 of the Basic Principles of Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics and art. 219 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR) in the general provisions on responsibility for breach of obligations. Damages include expenses incurred by the creditor, loss of or harm to the creditor’s property, and profits that the creditor would have obtained if the obligation had been performed by the debtor. Thus, the law affirms the principle of full compensation for damages, on the basis of which obligations arising as the result of the causing of harm are also regulated. Exceptions to this principle, expressed in the establishment of limited financial responsibility for the nonperformance or improper performance of obligations, may be provided by legislation or by agreement of the parties. Such agreements are not permitted between socialist organizations if the extent of responsibility for a given type of obligation is exactly defined by law.

In certain cases the debtor is obligated by law to compensate the creditor only for damages of a specific type. Thus, a party that has violated obligations under a construction contract must compensate the other party for such damages as expenses incurred by the latter or loss of or injury to the latter’s property. Under certain circumstances the limit of the debtor’s liability is established in advance. For example, for damages caused by a motor freight organization in the shipment of freight and baggage, the organization’s responsibility is as follows: (1) in case of loss or shortage of freight or baggage, in the amount of the value of the lost or short freight or baggage; (2) in case of damage to freight or baggage, in the amount by which the value was reduced; and (3) in case of loss of freight or baggage shipped with a declared value, in the amount of the declared value, unless it is shown to be less than the actual value.

The recovery of damages is also allowed outside of legal relations of obligation. The civil codes of the Union republics (for example, art. 500 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR) give an author or his legal successor the right to demand compensation for damages, as in the case of illegal use of a work without the consent of the author. Compensation for damages is also possible in the case of recovery by the owner of property from illegal possession by another.

liquidated damages

A sum specified in a contract whereby damages in the event of breach are to be determined. In a construction contract, liquidated damages usually are specified as a fixed sum per day for failure to complete the work, 1 within a specified time. If set at a level consistent with a reasonable forecast of actual harm to the owner, liquidated damage clauses will be upheld and will preclude use of standards for computation of damages that would otherwise be imposed by law. If the amount prescribed for liquidated damages is unreasonably high, the provision will be denominated an illegal “penalty” by the courts and held invalid; in such case, damages will be determined pursuant to otherwise applicable rules of law.
References in periodicals archive ?
Consolidated Development Co., the New Brunswick Court of Appeal awarded nominal damages for failure to adhere to the specifications of the building contract in favor of the reinstatement cost.
availability of nominal damages. Nonprisoner litigants can recover for
Fee-shifting decisions concerning awards of nominal damages further
5th DCA 1993) ("Whenever the intentional invasion of a legal right occurs the law infers some damage to the party whose rights were violated and if no evidence is adduced as to any particular specific loss or damage, the law 'rights' or remedies the wrong by awarding nominal damages, usually in the amount of $1.00.").
Several courts have held that the PLRA restricts any emotional or mental damages a prisoner receives pursuant to a violation of RLUIPA to nominal damages, absent physical injury as a result of the violation.
It added that the "ceremonial anchor" of nominal damages was not required because damages awards are capped under Title VII.
"An award of nominal damages is not enough to justify an award of attorney fees," the court said in an opinion written by Judge John S.
Aside from the possibility of electing to claim merely reliance damages, the distributor in such a case faces an all or nothing prospect: Full recovery for the profits he would have made or merely nominal damages. If, as an alternative, he were permitted to recover the value of the lost opportunity to strive for the profit, the hazards and possible injustice of the all or nothing approach would be reduced.
(258) In the words of one district judge, although the Supreme Court called the 500-1 ratio in BMW "breathtaking," (259) in cases involving nominal damages, "a much higher ratio can be contemplated while maintaining normal respiration." (260)
Offensive but harmless touching may entitle the person touched to nominal damages. A manager who slams an item down on an employee's desk or who purposely knocks an item off that desk may be committing battery.