Measure of Damages for a Chattel Including Loss of Use

Measuring tape

A chattel is “an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property.”

November 16, 2020
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

In a non-construction case, but an interesting case nonetheless, the Second District Court of Appeals talks about the measure of damages when dealing with chattel (property) including loss of use damages. Chattel, you say? While certainly not a word used in everyday language, a chattel is “an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property.” Equipment, machinery, personal items, furniture, etc. can be considered chattel.

With respect to the measure of damages for a chattel:

“Where a person is entitled to a judgment for harm to chattels not amounting to a total destruction in value,” the plaintiff may make an election out of two theories of recovery in addition to compensation for the loss of use. Badillo v. Hill, 570 So. 2d 1067, 1068 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990) (quoting Restatement of Torts § 928 (Am. Law Inst. 1939)). In addition to compensation for the loss of use, the plaintiff may elect either “the difference between the value of the chattel before the harm and the value after the harm” or “the reasonable cost of repairs or restoration where feasible, with due allowance for any difference between the original value and the value after repairs.” Id. (quoting Restatement of Torts § 928).

Sack v. WSW Rental of Sarasota, LLC, 45 Fla.L.Weekly D2306a (Fla. 2d DCA 2020).

Sack is a good example of a case dealing with the measure of damages with a chattel, here, an aircraft, including loss of use damages.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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