Louise Caroline Nursing Home, Inc. v. Dix Constr. Corp.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1972.

362 Mass. 306, 285 N.E.2d 904.

Dawson, p. 38-39.


Facts: Louise made a contract with Dix to build a nursing home.Though Louise fulfilled its contractual obligations, Dix didnít complete construction in time.An auditor ruled that Louise suffered ďno compensable damagesĒ.Louise objected to the trial courtís application of the auditorís rulings and said it was entitled to the difference in the value of the building as it was left uncompleted and the value the building would have had if it had been completed.


Issue: Is the plaintiff entitled to damages based on the defendantís abandonment of performance?


Rule: Damages shall be awarded such that the plaintiff will be put in the same position as if the contract had been performed.


Analysis: If the nursing home can turn to another contractor to complete the construction within the original contract price agreed upon with the breaching contractor, then they were not harmed by the breach.


Conclusion: The trial courtís ruling was upheld and the nursing home was awarded no damages.




What is the general principle at work in this case?What could be its broader applications?If you can make up a breach by buying what you need from another vendor at the same price, then no harm was done to you and you ought not collect damages.I think Crail is consistent with Louise because both apply the general principle that damages need only be awarded that are sufficient to make the plaintiff as well off as if the contract had been performed.


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