Answers to Summer 2014
California Bar Exam Questions

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Summer 2014 Bar Question 1

Remedies

  Question
 

Percy and Daria entered into a valid written contract for Percy to design and install landscaping for an exclusive housing development that Daria owned. Percy agreed to perform the work for $15,000, payable upon completion. Percy estimated that he would work approximately 100 hours a month on the project and would complete the project in three months. His usual hourly fee was $100, but he agreed to reduce his fee because Daria agreed to let him photograph the entire landscaping project for an article he planned to propose to Beautiful Yards and Gardens magazine. He anticipated that publicity from the article would more than compensate him for his reduced fee.

Percy completed two months’ work on the project when Daria unjustifiably repudiated the contract. He secured a different project with Stuart in the third month, which paid him $1,500 and took 15 hours to complete. He could have completed Daria’s project at the same time.

At the time Daria unjustifiably repudiated the contract, Percy was negotiating with Tammy to landscape her property for $30,000. Once Tammy learned what had happened, she stopped negotiation.

Percy has sued Daria. Ideally, he would like to finish the project with her.

What remedy or remedies may Percy reasonably seek and what is the likely outcome? Discuss.

All questions © 2014 California State Bar Exam. All rights reserved

 
Analysis

Remedies
Question 1, Summer 2014

This is a pure remedies question. They are relatively rare. How can you tell?
Because the exam tells you:
1. there was a valid written contract and
2. D unjustifiably breached.

Often pure remedies questions break into four or five interrogatories, and these isolate the issues. This one has just one general interrogatory.

Also, remedies questions frequently feature equitable remedies, and even equitable defenses. Not so here.

The five issues are:

Expectation damages.
Expectation damages must be:
Foreseeable—Defendant could have foreseen his breach would cause Plaintiff to suffer these damages, at time contract was entered.
Unavoidable—Plaintiff had a duty to mitigate his losses, but there was nothing he could do to lessen his losses.
Causal—Defendant’s breach caused Plaintiff’s harm. This is “but-for” causation.
Certain—The amount of damages Plaintiff suffered can be determined; they are not too speculative.
The issues were whether Plaintiff can recover from Daria the following as following expectation damages:
1. The loss of the contract price of $15,000.
2. Whether the amount Plaintiff earned from his substitute job with Stuart should be deducted (offset) from the contract price.
3. The loss of the contract Plaintiff was negotiating with T.
4. The loss of the publicity Plaintiff counted on from an article about the Daria garden.

The final issue was given by the exam telling you that Plaintiff would ideally like to finish the Daria project. That remedy is Specific Performance.

 
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