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Civil Wrongs and Justice in Private Law$
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Paul B. Miller and John Oberdiek

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190865269

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190865269.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 June 2021

Vosburg v. Baxendale

Vosburg v. Baxendale

Recourse in Tort and Contract*

Chapter:
(p.463) 21 Vosburg v. Baxendale
Source:
Civil Wrongs and Justice in Private Law
Author(s):

John C.P. Goldberg

Benjamin C. Zipursky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190865269.003.0021

This chapter addresses a basic difference between the rules governing tort and contract damages. It also explains why this already puzzling divergence is all the more puzzling in virtue of a seemingly intuitive “foreseeable-at-breach” rule that tort law rejects in favor of one that is less restrictive, while contract law rejects in favor of one that is more so. The chapter sets out to explain this phenomenon, in the process defending and illuminating prevailing doctrine. Two cases provide the focal point for this discussion. Hadley v. Baxendale (1854) stands for the rejection, in contract law, of the foreseeable-at-breach rule in favor of foreseeability of loss at the time of contract formation. Vosburg v. Putney (1891), meanwhile, holds that damages may be recovered in a tort action even if not reasonably foreseeable at the time of breach.

Keywords:   foreseeable-at-breach, damages, torts, contracts, contract formation, damages

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