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Decatur Cty. AG-Services, Inc. v. Young - 426 N.E.2d 644 (Ind. 1981)

Rule:

The purpose of damages is to compensate the injured party for the loss suffered.

Facts:

Young contracted with Decatur County AG-Services, Inc. (“Decatur”) for the company to aerially apply an insecticide to Young’s soybean field. The crop was damaged and Young brought a cause of action for money damages against Decatur. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Young and computed damages. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. Decatur appealed.

Issue:

Was the computation of damages awarded to Young correct?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of Indiana reversed that part of the judgment that determined that Young was entitled to the difference between the potential yield and the actual yield of the crop, holding that it was error to find that Young's damages could be ascertained with reference to the price obtained by him when he sold his diminished crop the following year. To the extent that Young elected not to sell his harvest at the time it was first marketable, he was speculating that its market value would be greater at some subsequent date, and the company could not be charged with the results of the speculation. The cause was remanded to the trial court for a redetermination of damages.

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