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Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Volume 42, Issue 1 (2008), p. 51-90.


While the expectancy principle is widely embraced across common law jurisdictions as a foundational doctrine of remedies law, damages for mental distress related to breach of contract have either been rejected outright or limited to variously constructed exceptions in most jurisdictions. This Article focuses on the policies underlying the rules and exceptions applied to contractually related mental distress claims in England, Australia, Canada and the United States. In reviewing the approaches across these jurisdictions, there does not appear to be a convincing policy rationale behind limiting the expectancy principle for emotional distress claims. Indeed, this Article argues that the existing limitations on the availability for mental distress damages recognized in the various common law jurisdictions should be abandoned as artificial attempts to restrict liability and that the traditional common law principles of causation, mitigation and remoteness are sufficient to preclude liability in cases where such claims lack merit.

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