Legal Memorandum: Contract Damages in ND

Issue: How can proper contract damages be determined in North Dakota?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Contract damages; Breach of contract
Jurisdiction:  North Dakota
Cited Cases: 468 N.W.2d 397
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2014

In Leingang v. City of Mandan Weed Bd., 468 N.W.2d 397 (N.D. 1991), the North Dakota Supreme Court explained:

For a breach of contract, the injured party is entitled to compensation for the loss suffered, but can recover no more than would have been gained by full performance. Our law thus incorporates the notion that contract damages should give the nonbreaching party the benefit of the bargain by awarding a sum of money that will put that person in as good a position as if the contract had been performed. Where the contract is for service and the breach prevents the performance of that service, the value of the contract consists of two items: (1) the party’s reasonable expenditures toward performance, including costs paid, material wasted, and time and services spent on the contract, and (2) the anticipated profits.  Thus, a party is entitled to recover for the detriment caused by the defendant’s breach, including lost profits if they are reasonable and not speculative.


Id. at 398 (citations omitted) (emphasis added).   

In B.W.S. Inv. v. Mid-Am Rest., Inc., 459 N.W.2d 759 (N.D. 1990), the court explained, “[t]he issue of the amount of damages is a question of fact[.] .  .  . In a case where the amount of damages may be hard to prove, the amount of damages is to be left to the sound discretion of the finder of facts.”  Id. at 764 (citations omitted) (emphasis added).


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