Damages, * practice. The indemnity given by law, to be recovered from a wrong doer by the person who has sustained an injury, either in his person, property, or relative rights, in consequence of the acts of another.

2. Damages are given either for breaches of contracts, or for tortious acts.

3. Damages for breach of contract may be given, for example, for the non-performance of a written or verbal agreement; or of a covenant to do or not to do a particular thing.

4. As to the measure of damages the general rule is that the delinquent shall answer for all the injury which results from the immediate and direct breach of his agreement, but not from secondary and remote consequences.

5. In cases of an eviction, on covenant of seisin and warranty, the rule seems to be to allow the consideration money, withinterest and costs. 6 Watts & Serg. 527; 2 Dev. R. 30; 3 Brev. R. 458. See 7 Shepl. 260; 4 Dev. 46. But in Massachusetts, on the covenant of warranty, the measure of damages is the value of the land at the time of eviction. 4 Kent's Com. 462, 3, and the cases there cited; 3 Mass. 523; 4 Mass. 108; 1 Bay, 19, 265; 3 Desaus. Eq. R. 247; 4 Penn. St. R. 168.

6. In estimating the measure of damages sustained in consequence of the acts of a common carrier, it frequently becomes a question whether the value of the goods at the place of embarkation or the port of destination is the rule to establish the damages sustained. It has been ruled that the value at the port of destination is the proper criterion. 12 S. & R. 186;. 8 John. R. 213; 10 John. R. 1; 14 John. R. 170; 15 John. R. 24. But contrary decisions have taken place. 3 Caines, R. 219 4 Hayw. R. 112; and see 4 Mass. R. 115; 1 T. R. 31; 4 T. R. 582.

7. Damages for tortious acts are given for acts against the person, as an assault and battery against the reputation, as libels and slander, against the property, as trespass, when force is used; or for the consequential acts of the tort-feasor, as, when a man, in consequence of building a dam on his own premises, overflows his neighbor's land; or against the relative rights of the party injured, as for criminal conversation with his wife.

8. No settled rule or line of distinction can be marked out when a possibility of damages shall be accounted too remote to entitle a party to claim a recompense: each case must be ruled by its own circumstances. Ham. N. P. 40; Kames on Eq. 73, 74. Vide 7 Vin. Ab. 247; Yelv. 45, a; Id. 176, a; Bac. Ab. h. t.; 1 Lilly's Reg. 525; Domat, liv. 3, t. 5, s. 2, n. 4; Toull. liv. 3, n. 286; 2 Saund. 107, note; 1 Rawle's Rep. 27; Coop. Just. 606; Com. Dig. 11. t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t. See, Cause; Remote.

9. Damages for torts are either compensatory or vindictive. By compensatory damages is meant such as are given morely to recompense a party who has sustained a loss in consequence of the acts of the defendant, and where there are no circumstances to aggravate the act, for the purpose of compensating the plaintiff for his loss; as, for example, Where the defendant had caused to be seized, property of A for the debt of B, when such property was out of A's possession, and there appeared reason to believe it was B's. Vindictive damages are such as are given against a defendant, who, in addition to the trespass, has been guilty of acts of outrage and wrong which cannot well be measured by a compensation in money; as, for example, where the defendant went to A's bouse, and with insult and outrage seized upon A's property, for a debt due by B, and carried it away, leaving A's family in distress. Sedgw. on Dam. 39; 2 Greenl. Ev. §253; 1 Gillis. 483; 12 Conn. 580; 2 M. & S. 77; 4 S. & R. 19; 5 Watts, 375; 5 Watts & S. 524; 1 P. S. R. 190, 197.

10. In cases of loss of which have been insured from maritime dangers, when an adjustment is made, the damages are settled by valuing the property, not according to prime cost, but at the price at which it may be sold at the time of settlling the average. Marsh. Inst. B. 1, c. 14, s. 2, p. 621. See Adjustment; Price.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

« Definitions Da to Dea

« Legal Dictionary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H
I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P
Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y