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Proving Damages and NY Breach of Contract: Avoid Speculation

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When bringing a breach of contract claim in New York, plaintiffs need to be certain with regard to the harm that they suffered. Proving a breach of contract requires evidence of the extent of damages that directly resulted from the defendant’s actions. This evidence must be clear and cannot be based on speculation. 

A recent lawsuit involving media giant Time Warner may soon illustrate the problem of proving damages. The lawsuit was filed by TV station operator Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair accused Time Warner of breaching their agreement by moving a TV station that it manages to an undesirable channel, number 1225.

In order to succeed in a New York breach of contract action, Sinclair would have to demonstrate the harm that is suffered because of the switch in channel numbers. New York contract law requires the following:

  • Evidence that the change in channels resulted in a specified dollar amount of damages that can  be calculated with reasonable certainty.
  • That the damages allegedly resulting from the channel change were derived based upon “known reliable factors.”
  • That the damages allegedly resulting from the channel change do not rely on “undue speculation.”

Sinclair will have to prove that Time Warner’s decision to move its station to a higher channel resulted in damages that can be specifically supported based upon the evidence. While it remains to be seen whether Sinclair will succeed in its claim, it is clear that successfully bringing this type of lawsuit requires the guidance of an experienced New York breach of contract attorney. Call our office today at (888) 497-3410 for a consultation.

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