Friday, March 23, 2012

Oliver v. Campbell case brief

Oliver v. Campbell; (Sup Ct. of CA, 1954); CB 135; Notes 20
  • Factss

    Lawyer makes an unreasonably cheap contract to represent a problem client in a divorce ($750). He gets fired just before the case is complete, and is paid only partially. Sues for the value of his services.
  • Holding: While D can not at once breach the K and then try to rely on it, where work nearly completed or complete, P can only recover for K price. So P entitled to expectation damages - additional $300. Court rejected P’s claim for restitutionary damages b/c he had completed his part of the K – only thing left was for D to pay P.
  • Commentary: Reliance can only be recovered up to amount you would have received under K. Reliance recovery capped at expectation amount. Campbell can’t rely on the contract anymore to dictate it’s price b/c he breached it – he’s estopped from using it. Generally, this would mean that D could sue quantum meruit as if K never existed, may recover reasonable value of services performed. But here P had completed his side of the K, so no restitution.

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