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Am Jur 2d - Damages § 1

I. Introduction, § 1 - Definition of term "damages"

The word "damages" generally connotes payment in money for a plaintiff's losses caused by a defendant's breach of duty.[1] "Damages" are monetary compensation for loss or harm suffered by a person, or certain to be suffered in the future, as the result of the unlawful act or omission of another.[2] Stated otherwise, the term "damages" refers to a money award compensating a plaintiff for loss or injury.[3] There are numerous other similar definitions.[4]


"Damages," absent a restrictive modifier like "compensatory," "actual," "consequential," or "punitive," is an inclusive term when used in a statute, embracing the panoply of legally recognized pecuniary relief.[5]

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1   U.S. v. Balistrieri, 981 F.2d 916 (7th Cir. 1992) ; Griffith v. State of Colo., Div. of Youth Services, 17 F.3d 1323, 143 A.L.R. Fed. 677 (10th Cir. 1994) .

2   Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 171 Cal. App. 4th 1, 89 Cal. Rptr. 3d 455 (2d Dist. 2009) (disapproved of on other grounds by, Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court, 51 Cal. 4th 310, 120 Cal. Rptr. 3d 741, 246 P.3d 877 (2011) ).

3   Smith v. Walt Bennett Ford, Inc., 314 Ark. 591, 864 S.W.2d 817 (1993) ; Geters v. Eagle Ins. Co., 834 S.W.2d 49 (Tex. 1992) .
 Damages are the compensation which the law will award for an injury done. Scott v. Donald, 165 U.S. 58, 17 S. Ct. 265, 41 L. Ed. 632 (1897) .
 "Damages" are money paid by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury. In re Consolidated Objections to Tax Levies of School Dist. No. 205, 193 Ill. 2d 490, 250 Ill. Dec. 745, 739 N.E.2d 508, 150 Ed. Law Rep. 795 (2000) .
 The term "damages" refers to pecuniary compensation, recompense, or satisfaction for an injury sustained. McGee v. A C And S, Inc., 933 So. 2d 770 (La. 2006) .

4  Damages consist in compensation for loss sustained. U.S. Steel Products Co. v. Adams, 275 U.S. 388, 48 S. Ct. 162, 72 L. Ed. 326 (1928) .
 Construed in the common-law context, damages compensate the plaintiff in full for the preventable and established loss sustained by reason of tortious or proscribed acts. Albrecht v. Herald Co., 452 F.2d 124, 16 A.L.R. Fed. 1 (8th Cir. 1971) .
 The word "damages" expresses in dollars and cents the injury sustained by a plaintiff. Donovan v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 455 Mass. 215, 914 N.E.2d 891 (2009) .
 Damages are a remedy for compensation for a legal wrong or injury. Estrada v. Port City Properties, Inc., 2011 OK 30, 258 P.3d 495 (Okla. 2011) .
 "Damages" is commonly defined as the estimated money equivalent for detriment or injury sustained. Eleopulos v. McFarland and Hullinger, LLC, 2006 UT App 352, 145 P.3d 1157 (Utah Ct. App. 2006) .
 "Damages" is a term used in torts to denote an award made to a person by a competent judicial tribunal because of a legal wrong done to him or her by another. Ford v. Trendwest Resorts, Inc., 146 Wash. 2d 146, 43 P.3d 1223 (2002) .

5   Rice v. CertainTeed Corp., 84 Ohio St. 3d 417, 1999-Ohio-361, 704 N.E.2d 1217, 81 A.L.R.5th 763 (1999) .

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