Damages – Law of Torts – Notes

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Damages – Tort law provides for several kinds of damages.  Some of them are discussed below:-

Contemptuous  Damages – Contemptuous damages are generally awarded by the court to display its disapproval at the claimant in pursuing the claim to court when they have been unreasonable in doing so.

Nominal Damages – Nominal damages are awarded where the claimant has suffered no loss but has had a right infringed.
Constantine v Imperial Hotels Ltd ([1944] KB 693) – Plaintiff was refused accommodation to without just cause. Plaintiff was awarded a small sum of five guineas in damages.

Ordinary Damages – The damages which provide for everything required are called ordinary damages.

Exemplary Damages – Exemplary damages or Punitive damages or are damages intended to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which formed the basis of the lawsuit.
BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore [134 L. Ed. 2d 809 (1996)] – Plaintiff purchased a new BMW and later learned that the car had been repainted. In a suit for suppression of a material fact, plaintiff was awarded $2 million in punitive damages. The appellate court reduced damages considerably and held that the Due Process of the Constitution limits the amount recoverable in punitive damages when the damages constitute grossly excessive punishment for a tortfeasor.

Prospective Damages – Damages which are expected to follow from the act or state of facts made the basis of a plaintiff’s suit; damages which have not yet accrued, at the time of the trial, but which, in the nature of things, must necessarily, or most probably, result from the acts or facts complained of.

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