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Buck v. Morrow - 2 Tex. Civ. App. 361, 21 S.W. 398 (1893)

Rule:

Incident to the breach of a covenant for quiet enjoyment in a lease, in addition to the difference between the rent to be paid and the actual value of the unexpired term, the tenant may also recover as special damages such extra expense and damage, if any, as are the natural and proximate result of the breach. The rule that confines the general damage to the difference between the rental value and the stipulated rent rests upon the assumption that the tenant can go at once into the market and obtain like property. Where the reason of the rule does not exist, the rule itself should not apply, to the exclusion of all other considerations in estimating the damages. Injury to the tenant's goods or stock in trade, in addition to the value of the use and occupation of the premises, should be considered in estimating the damages.

Facts:

On the 1st day of May, 1886, defendant H. C. Morrow (lessor) leased to plaintiff A. C. Buck (lessee) a certain pasture in Wise County for a term of five years, commencing with that date, for the sum of $125 per year, with the provision, that after the second year, should defendant Morrow have occasion to sell the land, he should compensate plaintiff Buck for any or all losses occasioned by the sale. It was understood between the parties at the time that the land was being leased by plaintiff Buck to graze cattle thereon. At the expiration of two years the land was sold and plaintiff Buck was dispossessed. At trial, Buck offered to prove by a witness that Buck had 140 head of cattle in the pasture, under the charge and control of the witness, but although the lessee and the witness had made diligent inquiry and search for another pasture for the cattle, they failed to find one. The trial court refused to hear such testimony or awad special damages to plaintiff lessee for loss of the cattle.  Plaintiff appealed.

Issue:

Is plaintiff lessee entitled to recover special damages for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment of the lease?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The appellate court held that it was error to exclude evidence of the lessee's special damages. The court noted that in addition to recovering the difference between the rent to be paid and the actual value of the unexpired term as general damages for the breach of the lease's covenant of quiet enjoyment, lessee Buck was entitled to recover any extra expense and damages that naturally and proximately resulted from the breach as special damages.

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