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Rockingham County v. Luten Bridge Co

Melissa A. Hale

ProfessorMelissa A. Hale

CaseCast "What you need to know"

CaseCast –  "What you need to know"

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Rockingham County v. Luten Bridge Co
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    Brief Fact Summary. A company hired to build a bridge continued work on the bridge, even after the county repudiated the contract.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Once a contract is breached, the non-breaching party has a duty not to increase the resulting damages.

    Facts. The Defendant, Rockingham County (Defendant), hired the Plaintiff, Luten Bridge Co. (Plaintiff), to construct a bridge. Thereafter, the County Commission voted not to continue with the construction of the bridge and informed the Plaintiff to stop work on the bridge contract. The Plaintiff, however, continued constructing the bridge. The Plaintiff then filed suit to recover damages stemming from The Defendant’s breach of contract.

    Issue. Does a non-breaching party have a duty to mitigate damages stemming from the other party’s breach?

    Held. Yes. Judgment reversed and remanded.
    Although the Defendant breached the contract, the Plaintiff had a duty to stop work and not increase the damages stemming from the breach.
    The proper remedy when one party repudiates a contract is to sue for recovery of damages that were sustained from the breach when the non-breaching party receives notice of the breach.

    Discussion. The court examined the facts of the case and found that the Plaintiff had notice that the Defendant breached the contract. It then looked to case law, which provides that in such a case, the Plaintiff has a duty not to aggravate damages.


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