COA rules in favor of chamber in breach of contract dispute

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

In its decision ordering summary judgment be entered in favor of the Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce in a lawsuit involving damages to a former employee, the Indiana Court of Appeals adopted the proposition that damages for breach of notice provisions are limited to compensation for the notice period.

In Walter B. Duncan v. The Greater Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce, Inc., No. 32A01-1109-CC-429, Walter Duncan sued the Greater Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce over the amount of damages he received after he was forced to resign as executive director in March 2010. The chamber’s board of directors voted to terminate his contract immediately, but Duncan was given the option of resigning. Per his resignation, he was to work one more week and take a three-week paid vacation. His daily salary was $138, so he was due just under $15,000 for working through April 18, one month after he submitted his resignation letter. The chamber paid more than $15,500 to him in 2010.

Duncan sued later that year, arguing he should have been due damages from the date of the alleged breach through the term of the contract. Both Duncan and the chamber filed for summary judgment. The chamber’s argument basically asks the appellate court to adopt the general proposition that damages for breach of a notice requirement are limited to the compensation for the notice period.

The COA did, adopting the majority rule that “the summary discharge of an employee entitled under the employment contract to a specified period of notice ordinarily permits him to recover his compensation for the notice period only and not for the entire balance of the contract period.” This is consistent with decisions from other jurisdictions.

Here, the contract required a 30-day written notice to the other party before canceling the employment agreement. The most that Duncan was entitled to recover then was 30 days compensation. He received more than what he was entitled to, so the appellate court declined to address whether the chamber actually breached the notice requirement. The judges ordered the trial court enter summary judgment in favor of the chamber.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.