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General damages, as opposed to special damages, naturally and necessarily result from the act complained of. Minnesota courts have stated that the term "consequential damages" usually refers to those items of damages which, because of particular circumstances, are to be distinguished from "general" damages. Special damages are the natural, but not the necessary, result of a breach. Although special or consequential damages flow naturally from the breach, they are not recoverable unless they are reasonably foreseeable to the parties at the time of the breach.
The parties had an oral agreement for the company to dump 1,500 cubic yards of fill on the owner's property; the company dumped 6,500 cubic yards of fill and the property could not have been built on without its removal. The company offered to remove the fill; the owner refused and hired another company to remove it. The company argued that the district court erred in awarding consequential damages, abused its discretion by awarding general damages, and that the owner had an obligation to mitigate his damages by accepting its offer to remove the excess fill.
Did the district court err in awarding consequential damages?
The court stated that because consequential damages were not pleaded, Minn. R. Civ. P. 9.07, and not supported by any evidence in the record, the district court erred in awarding consequential damages. It found that the district court had a sufficient basis for calculating and did not abuse its discretion in granting $ 22,829 in general damages. Based on the circumstances, the owner was not obligated to mitigate his damages by allowing the company to remove the excess fill. In addition, because the company did not attempt to cure, but rather proposed a new contract with new consideration, it waived its right to cure.