ORDER ON MOTION
Allen Hunter Justice
before the court is the Defendant Hovey's Motion in
Limine seeking an order from the court declaring the specific
measure of legal damages that the court would employ in the
event that the Plaintiff demonstrates at trial that he is
entitled to relief upon his complaint.
absence of an actual evidentiary context, the court concludes
that the motion presents questions without clear or absolute
answers at the present time. For that reason, the court
reserves the right to alter the conclusions set forth herein
should the evidence ultimately produced at trial indicate
that it would be appropriate to do so.
Plaintiffs complaint sets forth two separate causes of
action. In Count 1 of the Plaintiffs Second
Amended Complaint, he contends that the Defendant Battle
Brook Farm Church (hereinafter Battle Brook) breached a
timber rights contract by permitting another, specifically
the Defendant Steven Hovey (hereinafter Hovey), to harvest
the same timber covered by the original agreement and that
the Plaintiff had contracted with Battle Brook to harvest.
pending motion seeks a determination from the court regarding
the measure of damages that the court would employ for this
breach, of contract. Should the Plaintiff be successful, the
damages would be assessed against the Defendant Battle Brook.
court would direct the parties' attention to the
following Law Court statement regarding contract damages:
The assessment of damages is within the sole province of the
[fact finder]. We will not disturb that assessment if any
reasonable view of the evidence or any inference justifiably
drawn from that evidence supports the [fact finder's]
damage award. Reasonableness, not mathematical certainty, is
the criteria for determining whether damages were awarded
As a general rule, the purpose of an award of compensatory
damages for a breach of contract is to place the plaintiff in
the same position that he or she would have enjoyed had there
been no breach. An injured party is entitled to recover for
all losses actually suffered as a result of the breach.
Lee v. Scotia Prince Cruises. Ltd., 2003 ME 78,
¶21 -22, 828 A.2d 210, 216 (internal citations and
seems to the court that a prevailing plaintiff in a case such
as this would be entitled to present his proof regarding the
extent of bis damages for breach of contract according to
this same standard. The standard is not one of mathematical
precision. Accordingly, as against a breaching contractor, a
plaintiff would have some considerable, but reasonable,
latitude in presenting his claim. As the motion itself
acknowledges, the claim may be subject to a number of
variables such as the costs associated with the actual
harvesting and trucking of the timber or other efficiencies
and/or economies that the Plaintiff might be able to
demonstrate and that might or might not be unique to him,
thereby producing a measure of damage that another, although
in a similar circumstance, might not be able to demonstrate.
Count 2, the Plaintiff sets forth claims for conversion and
for intentional interference with contractual rights. These
claims are made against Defendants Hovey and Darrell C.
McQuire & Sons, Inc. (hereinafter McGuire).
later claim would appear to be a claim for tortious
interference with an advantageous relationship. In the event
that Plaintiff was able to prevail on such a claim, then the
measure of damages would be those damages proximately caused
by the interference as in a typical tort claim and Plaintiff
would be entitled to offer proof of the nature and extent of
any such compensatory damages.
event that Plaintiff were to prevail on his claim for
conversion against either or both Hovey and McGuire, then the
court would direct the parties' attention to the case of
Moody v. Whitney, 38 Me 174 (1854).
Although the case has some age to it, the Law Court stated
the issue as follows:
[t]he question presented in this case, whether the plaintiff,
if entitled to recover in the action, can have in damages the
value of the timber at the place where it was deposited,
which was two or three miles nearer the destined market, than
the spot where the trees were cut; or, is he limited in
damages to their value, where they were first severed from
the freehold? Moody at 176.
upholding the jury's verdict, the Court essentially
determined that the measure of damages for conversion of
timber was the value at the time of conversion with interest.
In a ...