No Extra Damages for Continuing to Perform a Repudiated Contract

The Court of Appeals has issued a lengthy opinion in a breach of contract case. Defendant Richard Berryman and his company, Berryman South Fork, claimed that J. Baxter Brinkmann International Corp. had constructively terminated the contract and owed them $160,000 in unreimbursed expenses. JBBI got to the courthouse first, however, and claimed that Berryman had breached the contract by failing to continue his performance. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of JBBI and awarded it more than $500,000 in damages, attorney fees, and interest.

Among many other issues, the Court of Appeals held that JBBI could not recover approximately $290,000 in breach of contract damages for payments it made to Berryman during the months following his attempted repudiation of the contract. That holding flows from the 88-year-old case of Osage Oil & Ref. Co. v. Lee Farm Oil Co., 230 S.W.2d 518 (Tex. Civ. App.–Amarillo 1921, writ ref’d). In that case, the court held that when a party is served with notice that the other party is repudiating their contract, the first party cannot continue to perform it and thereby increase the damages to which it would otherwise be entitled. However, that principle apparently does not extend beyond the breach of contract claim, as the Court’s opinion affirmed JBBI’s award of even greater damages for money had and received. The opinion also includes multiple discussions regarding the preservation of issues for appeal, including through pleadings, evidentiary objections, and briefing on appeal.

Berryman’s South Fork, Inc. v. J. Baxter Brinkmann Int’l Corp., No. 05-12-00492-CV

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