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DAMAGES – DAMAGES FOLLOW EVENT

Dictum

Damages are the sum of money which a person who has been wronged is entitled to receive from the wrong doer as compensation for loss or injury, hence, no loss or injury, no award of damages. It is clear that the award of damages follows events. See, MUSTAPHA v. ABUBAKAR & ORS. (2022) LPELR 41830 (CA), FBN v. OJO (2022) LPELR-57503 (CA), KEYSTONE BANK LTD. v. ABDULGAFARU YUSUF & CO. LTD (2021) LPELR-55646 (CA), CRC CREDIT BUREAU LTD v. LONGTERM GLOBAL CAPITAL LTD & ANOR (2021) LPELR 55574 (CA), MRS OLUFUMILAYO ESTHER & ANOR v. TOPNOTCH PROPERTIES LIMITED (2017).

— A.O. Obaseki-Adejumo, JCA. FRSC v Ehikaam (2023) – CA/AS/276/2019

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DAMAGES FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT IS BASED ON RESTITUTIO IN INTEGRUM

In awarding damages in an action founded on breach of contract, the rule to be applied is restitutio in integrum that is, in so far as the damages are not too remote, the plaintiff shall be restored as far as money can do it, to the position in which he would have been if the breach had not occurred.

– ADEKEYE, J.S.C. Cameroon v. Otutuizu (2011) – SC.217/2004

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AWARD OF DAMAGES IS DUTY OF TRIAL COURT – WHERE SUCH WILL BE INTERFERED IN

I have to commence my reasoning in this issue by laying emphasis on the notorious fact that the award of damages is essentially the duty of a trial court and will not be interfered with except unless certain circumstances exist:- a. Where the trial court acted under a misapprehension of facts or law b. where it failed to take into account relevant matter c. Where the amount awarded is too low or too high d. where failure to interfere would amount to injustice.

– Adekeye JSC. Harka v. Keazor (2011) – SC.262/2005

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TRESPASS: SPECIAL VS GENERAL DAMAGES

In an action for damages for special damages for trespass, special dam-ages must be pleaded and strictly proved, the value pleaded being normally a reflection of the prevailing market prices. The vital difference between a claim for compensation under the Land Use Act and compensation in trespass Is that general damages is only claimable in trespass.

— Obaseki, JSC. Foreign Finance Corp. v Lagos State Devt. & Pty. Corp. & Ors. (1991) – SC. 9/1988

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WHAT IS DAMAGES? SPECIAL AND GENERAL

What then is damages generally? Damages are money claimed by or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury. In other words, damages are the sum of money which a person wronged is entitled to receive from the wrongdoer as compensation for the wrong. General damages are damages that the law presumes follow, from the type of wrong complained of and do not need to be specifically claimed. While special damages are damages that are alleged to have been sustained in the circumstances of a particular wrong. To be awardable, special damages must be specifically claimed and proved.

– ARIWOOLA J.S.C. Union Bank v. Chimaeze (2014)

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DAMAGES FOR PAIN (WHICH CANNOT BE MEASURED) SHOULD NOT BE DENIED

In the American case of Warfield Natural Gas Co. v. Wright 54 SW 2nd it was held that where pain is claimed as an element of damages the impossibility of definitely measuring the damages by a money standard is no ground for denying pecuniary relief.

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ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES IN BREACH OF CONTRACT

[A]s far back as 1854 in the case of Hadley v. Baxendale (1854) 9 Ex (Ch. 341, where at p. 354 of the Report, Alderson, B. expressed the law as follows: “Now we think the proper rule in such a case as the present is this: Where two parties have made a contract which one of them has broken, the damages which the other party ought to receive in respect of such a breach of contract should be such as may fairly and reasonably be considered either arising naturally, according to the usual course of things, from such breach of contract itself, or such as may reasonably be supposed to have been in the contemplation of both parties, at the time they made the contract, as the probable result of the breach of it.”

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