Handicapped Children's Education Bd
hired by the board to serve as a speech therapist for the spring
At that time
she was commuting 45 miles.
was offered a contract for the following year for $10,760.
she was offered a position from Wee Care Day Care Center.
She told the
boards director she wanted to resign and submitted her letter
attorneys wrote a letter to Luka to perform and to the Day care
to not interfere with performance.
back to the school.
meeting with the board of director she became quit upset and
made an appointment that afternoon with the doctor.
Doctor Not Relevant
pressure was 180/100.
said it would not improve UNLESS the problem was removed.
wrote a letter of termination with the doctors note enclosed.
damage in the amount of the additional compensation it was
required to pay Lukas replacement for the 1978-79 school year
court ruled that Luka had breached her contract and awarded the
Board $ 1,249.14 in damages ($ 1,026.64 for breach of contract
and $ 222.50 for costs).
Board had to pay more for Lukaszewski's replacement, by its own
standards it obtained a
proportionately more valuable teacher.
the court of appeals held that the
Board suffered no damage
from the breach.
may recover damages from an employee who has failed to perform
an employment contract.
breach of contract cases are ordinarily
measured by the expectations
of the parties.
nonbreaching party is entitled
to full compensation for the loss of his or her bargain
-- that is, losses necessarily following from the breach which
are proven to a reasonable certainty and were within
contemplation of the parties when the contract was made.
breach of an employment contract include the
cost of obtaining other
services equivalent to that promised but not performed,
plus any foreseeable consequential damages.
As a result
of the breach, the Board hired a replacement at a salary
exceeding what it had agreed to pay Lukaszewski.
There is no
question that this additional cost ($ 1,026.64) necessarily
flowed from the breach and was within the contemplation of the
parties when the contract was made.
argues that the Board was not damaged by this expense.
The amount a
teacher is paid is determined by a salary schedule agreed upon
by the teachers' union and the Board.
education and experience a teacher has the greater her salary
then, the amount of compensation a teacher receives reflects her
value to the Board.
Received a more valuable teacher
argues that the Board suffered no net loss because, while it had
to pay more for the replacement, it received the services of a
proportionately more valuable teacher.
Better Position Arg
she maintains that the Board is not entitled to damages because
an award would place it in a better position than if the
contract had been performed.
and the court of appeals improperly focus on the objective
value of the services the Board received
rather than that for
which it had bargained.
breach of contract are measured by the expectations of the
expected to receive the services of a speech therapist with
Lukaszewski's education and experience at the salary agreed
expected nor wanted a more experienced therapist who had to be
paid an additional $ 1,026.64 per year.
Lukaszewski's breach forced the Board to hire the replacement
and, in turn, to pay a higher salary.
the Board lost the benefit of
Value Was Imposed
additional value the Board may have received from the
replacement's greater experience
was imposed upon it and
thus cannot be characterized as
that the Board suffered damages for the loss of its bargain in
the amount of additional compensation it was required to pay
This is not
to say that an employer who is injured by an employee's breach
of contract is free to hire the most qualified and expensive
replacement and then recover the difference between the salary
paid and the contract salary.
party must take all reasonable steps to mitigate damages.
the employer must attempt to obtain equivalent services at the
lowest possible cost.
immediately took steps to
locate a replacement. Only one qualified person applied
for the position.
no alternative, the
Board hired this applicant. Thus the Board properly mitigated
its damages by hiring the least expensive, qualified replacement
We hold that
the Board is entitled to have the benefit of its bargain
we reverse that portion of the court of appeals' decision
which reversed the trial court's damage award.