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Copyright (c) 2002 Tennessee Law Review Association, Inc.
Tennessee Law Review


Summer, 2002

69 Tenn. L. Rev. 837


Robert M. Lloyd *


For the practicing lawyer, the law of damages is the most important area of contract law. It is what makes the difference between a case that is worth pursuing and a case where the client's best option is to walk away and content herself knowing that she has learned an expensive lesson. Despite its importance, the subject of how damages are determined has received little attention from writers. 1 The lack of attention to damages has existed since the earliest days of American contract law when William Wetmore Story, the son of the renowned Justice Joseph Story, wrote one of the earliest American treatises on contracts. In a book of almost 500 pages, he only spent two pages discussing damages. 2

Generally, the subject of damages is downplayed in law school as well. Law students dislike the subject of damages because it deals with numbers, and contracts courses often give it short shrift. The result is that most law students graduate without a clear understanding of how to estimate their clients' damages.

The purpose of this article is to outline the principles governing contract damages in Tennessee and to suggest areas in which the law might be improved. I do not suggest any radical changes in the law of contract damages, but I do suggest that Tennessee courts be more liberal in awarding damages in order to more closely approach the theoretical goal of putting the non-breaching party in the same economic position that performance would have. This article is ...
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