Of Mack Trucks, Road Bugs, Gilmore and Danzig: Happy Birthday Hadley v. Baxendale
24 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2016 Last revised: 9 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2005
There is plenty to justify the appellation "fixed star" for the great case of Hadley v. Baxendale other than just its historical importance for having established the basic structure for lost expectation damages for breach of contract. Although in its practical application the stringency of the foreseeability principle has declined steadily over the years as contracting has become more standardized and uniform, it still mightily serves the law of contract in discouraging outrageous claims for remote damages, in providing trial courts with a basis for summarily dismissing such claims when they are made, in providing a flexible guideline in instructing juries charged with deciding hard contract damage cases, and even in acting as a misused surrogate to achieve equitable results when the customary safeguards against excessive damage recoveries have failed. So "Happy 150th Birthday" old Hadley, and here is wishing you many, many more. Although you may not be what you used to be, or even what many thought you were, none of the rest of us is either, in either case.
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