nominal damages

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Nominal Damages

Minimal money damages awarded to an individual in an action where the person has not suffered any substantial injury or loss for which he or she must be compensated.

This kind of damages reflects a legal recognition that a plaintiff's rights have been violated through a defendant's breach of duty or wrongful conduct. The amount awarded is ordinarily a trifling sum, such as a dollar, which varies according to the circumstances of each case. In certain jurisdictions, the amount of the award might include the costs of the lawsuit.

In general, nominal damages may be recovered by a plaintiff who is successful in establishing that he or she has suffered a loss or injury as a result of the defendant's wrongful conduct but is unable to adequately set forth proof of the nature and extent of the injury.

nominal damages

n. a small amount of money awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit to show he/she was right, but suffered no substantial harm. The most famous case of nominal damages was when Prime Minister Winston Churchill was awarded a shilling (about 25 cents) in a libel lawsuit he had brought against author Louis Adamic for writing that Churchill had been drunk during a dinner at the White House. The Prime Minister was vindicated, but the jury could not find that his towering reputation had been damaged. (See: damages)

nominal damages

an award of a (usually) small sum to reflect the fact that a tort has been committed but where no actual damage has been sustained. In the case of negligence, or any other tort where damage is part of the essence of the tort, nominal damages cannot be awarded. In contract cases, nominal damages can be awarded even if there is no loss sustained. See CONVENTIONAL AWARD.
References in periodicals archive ?
the New Brunswick Court of Appeal awarded nominal damages for failure to adhere to the specifications of the building contract in favor of the reinstatement cost.
232) The Court held that a plaintiff who is awarded nominal damages is
5th DCA 1993) ("Whenever the intentional invasion of a legal right occurs the law infers some damage to the party whose rights were violated and if no evidence is adduced as to any particular specific loss or damage, the law 'rights' or remedies the wrong by awarding nominal damages, usually in the amount of $1.
In most instances, then, institutionalized persons could at most recover nominal damages.
It added that the "ceremonial anchor" of nominal damages was not required because damages awards are capped under Title VII.
Nominal damages are not reserved exclusively for constitutional rights cases.
The court affirmed the punitive damages, noting the reprehensibility of the conduct and stating that the ratio analysis cannot be applied effectively in cases where only nominal damages have been awarded.
Dame Elizabeth also awarded Miss B pounds 100 nominal damages for "unlawful trespass".
This omission has resulted in some trial courts permitting juries to award punitive damages, sometimes running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, in Title VII cases when neither compensatory nor nominal damages have been found.
Such congressional determinations may be implicitly reflected in the logic or legislative history of the enforcement scheme, in explicit legislative findings, or in creation of statutory mechanisms such as nominal damages or bounties designed to ensure that an individual's interest in an action be redressable by a favorable judgment.
00 award was required under Florida law as nominal damages arising from a breach of contract claim.
No jury instruction was requested or given regarding nominal damages.