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COA rules in favor of chamber in breach of contract dispute

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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.
 

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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