Contract Law 78 V Northern Indiana Public Service Co v Carbon County Coal | Summary and Q&A

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August 10, 2017
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Contract Law 78 V Northern Indiana Public Service Co v Carbon County Coal

TL;DR

Courts prefer awarding monetary damages over specific performance as a remedy for breach of contract.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is specific performance?

Specific performance is when the breaching party is ordered by the court to fulfill their promise instead of paying damages.

Q: Why did Carbon County seek specific performance in the case?

Carbon County wanted specific performance to ensure the continuation of coal production and prevent job losses for miners employed by them.

Q: Why did the court deny specific performance in this case?

The court denied specific performance because damages were deemed to be an adequate remedy. Judge Posner argued that forcing the continuation of uneconomical production through specific performance would be inefficient and impose greater costs on society.

Q: What is the theory of efficient breach?

The theory of efficient breach states that a promiser should be allowed to breach a promise if they compensate the promisee, as long as the benefits of the breach outweigh the promisee's benefits from the performance.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The case of Northern Indiana Public Service Company versus Carbon County Coal involved a contract for the purchase of coal. Carbon County sought specific performance, but the trial court denied it and awarded damages to Carbon County instead.

  • The central issue was whether Carbon County was entitled to specific performance. Judge Richard Posner, known for his economic analysis of law, held that it was not.

  • Posner argued that specific performance was not necessary as damages would be sufficient compensation. He also highlighted that forcing the continuation of uneconomical production through specific performance would impose costs on society.

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