What are Restitution Damages for Contract Losses?

In California, and elsewhere, restitution damages - among various other damages - are often available to those who have suffered losses in a breach of contract scenario. If you have suffered financial losses due to a breach of contract, then you may be entitled to sue and recover restitution damages pursuant to California law. It's important to note, however, that proving damages can be quite challenging, depending on the particular circumstances surrounding the breach (and the hostility of the defendant).

Generally speaking, California contract damages are meant to put the plaintiff in a financial position that reflects the position they would have been in prior to the breach. Restitution damages are perhaps the closest approximation of this in most cases - for example, if you deliver goods to the defendant's warehouse, but the defendant chooses to violate the terms of the contract and refuses to purchase the goods, then you would likely be entitled to sue and recover restitution damages that account for the value of the goods (and delivery service) provided.

Restitution damages - as with all damages - must be accurate to the actual losses. If no reasonably accurate estimate can be provided, then you may have trouble securing the damages that you are entitled to pursuant to the law.

We encourage you to work with an experienced contract attorney at the Law Offices of Brian J. O'Grady who can help you develop an airtight case in which the evidence solidly supports your overall claim. Call (650) 318-6131 today for a free consultation.

Potential Damages in a California Contract Dispute

All damages must reasonably compensate the plaintiff for their losses suffered due to the breach at-issue. In the contract dispute context, this means that the damages must fully compensate the plaintiff for all reasonably foreseen harms. This does not necessarily mean restitution damages, of course - so long as your damage estimation is not excessively speculative, and can be supported by the evidence, then you may be entitled to significant expectation damages (i.e., lost profits) or reliance damages.

Restitution damages are - to some extent - the lowest, most basic amount that you would be entitled to in a typical breach of contract lawsuit. Granted, if the circumstances are such that you cannot prove expectation or reliance damages, or other damages, then restitution may be the only sort of damages that you're entitled to claim.

When are Restitution Damages Appropriate?

Restitution damages are appropriate in cases where the plaintiff has not suffered a unique loss beyond the actual value of the goods or services provided - any other loss would be unreasonably and excessively speculative.

For example, suppose that you paint the defendant's house over the course of a weekend. You provided $1,000 worth of painting services, and you spent $500 on the actual paint, for a total of $1,500. You attempt to argue that you should be entitled to lost profits in addition to the value of the goods and services provided, but the defendant counters that you had an empty schedule and no other clients. If that were true, then you would likely only be entitled to recover restitution damages (to prevent the defendant's unjust enrichment), as there is no legitimate reason to believe that you gave up additional earnings or business.

Calculating Restitution Damages

Restitution damages are calculated by assessing the value of the goods and services provided to the breaching defendant in the dispute. It is not weighed by the value to the plaintiff - only the value to the defendant, as measured by the payment made.

So, for example, if you delivered goods worth $10 to the defendant, but the defendant paid $1,000 for such goods, restitution damages would account for the $1,000 loss, as that is what you would have sold it for had the contract not been breached.

Contact an Experienced Mountain View Contract Attorney for a Free Consultation

Here at the Law Offices of Brian J. O'Grady, we have over 36 years of experience advocating on behalf of clients in a range of contract and personal injury disputes, including those that involve restitution damages. Thanks to our extensive experiences handling contract disputes with complex damage concerns, we understand how to develop a case in which we secure maximum compensation for our clients, given the circumstances.

Unlike many other firms, we are committed to the provision of comprehensive legal representation - we believe that thoroughly evaluating the evidence, consistent communication with our clients, and aggressive advocacy (from negotiation through to trial) are all equally critical to securing the compensation that our clients deserve.

Interested in speaking to an attorney for further guidance on how to proceed? Call (650) 318-6131 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Mountain View contract attorney here at the Law Offices of Brian J. O'Grady.