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Restitution in Other Cases

15 January, 2016 - 09:33

Upon repudiation of an oral contract governed by the Statute of Frauds, the nonbreaching party is not entitled to her expectation interest, but she may recover in restitution unless the purpose of the statute would be frustrated. When one party avoids a contract owing to lack of capacity, mistake, misrepresentation, duress, or the like, she is entitled to restitution for benefit conferred on the other party. Restitution is also available if a contract duty is discharged or never arises because (1) performance was impracticable, (2) the purpose of the contract was frustrated, (3) a condition did not occur, or (4) a beneficiary disclaimed his benefit.


Equitable remedies for breach of contract are available when legal remedies won’t make the nonbreaching party whole. The equitable remedies are specific performance (an order directing a person to deliver to the buyer the unique thing the seller contracted to sell), injunction (an order directing a person to stop doing that which he should not do), and restitution (the return by one party of the benefit conferred on him when the contract is not performed, to the extent necessary to avoid imposing a penalty on the breaching party).


  1. Buyer contracts to buy a 1941 four-door Cadillac convertible from Seller for $75,000. Seller, having found a Third Party who will pay $85,000 for the car, refuses to sell to Buyer. What is Buyer’s remedy?
  2. Assume Third Party had paid the $85,000 and Seller was ordered to sell to Buyer. What is Third Party’s remedy?
  3. Professor Smith contracts to teach business law at State University for the academic year. After the first term is over, she quits. Can State University get an order of specific performance or an injunction requiring Professor Smith to return for the second term?
  4. Now suppose that the reason Professor Smith quit work at State University is because she got a better job at Central University, fifteen miles away. Can State University get an injunction prohibiting her from teaching at Central University?