Peevyhouse v. Garland Coal & Mining Co.
382 P.2d 109 (Okl.1962), cert. denied, 375 U.S. 906 (1963).
Facts: The plaintiff leased half their farm to the defendant for strip mining. Part of the agreement was that the mining company would fill in the pits and smooth out the land. The defendant breached. It would have cost $29,000 to fill in the pits, but doing so would have only increased the value of the land by $300. At trial, the plaintiff was awarded $5,000.
Issue: To what damages is the plaintiff entitled?
Rule: Expectation damages cap the amount a plaintiff can recover for breach.
Analysis: The Oklahoma Supreme Court said that the “remedial” work agreed upon in the contract was merely “incidental”. They relied on the fact that $5,000 puts the plaintiff in a better position than performance would have done.
The dissenting opinion,
Conclusion: The Oklahoma Supreme Court reduced the damages to $300.
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