Rockingham County v. Luten Bridge Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1929.

35 F.2d 301.

Dawson, p. 41-44


Facts: The county contracted with Luten to build a bridge.  In essence, the county changed their mind about the bridge, but Luten built it anyway.


Issue: What damages is a plaintiff entitled to if it completed a contracted project even after they were informed it was no longer needed?


Rule: Once a contract is repudiated, the plaintiff should stop working on the project.  They can’t “pile up damages” for useless work.  They should only be compensated for the labor and materials they had already used at the time of the breach.


Analysis: The court argues that once a party to a contract receives word that the other party is repudiating the contract, they should consider it a breach and stop performing their end of the deal.


Conclusion: The court reversed the trial court’s ruling and ordered a new trial.


Back to Limitations on Expectation Damages

Back to Casebook Notes