Chapter of Book
This chapter, reveals the story -- the clash of personalities, the economic tensions, and the political significance -- behind Rockingham County v. Luten Bridge Co. Since its publication in 1929, the opinion has proceeded to leave an impression on generations of law students. Luten Bridge, a staple in most contracts casebooks, is known today as the paradigmatic case that demonstrates the duty to mitigate damages in contract law, whereby a nonbreaching party is not compensated for performance that occurs after the other party announces an intention to breach. This chapter takes on three objectives: it identifies the case's original importance, uncovers the opinion's political and jurisprudential significance, and tells a remarkable story, one that arose within a heated tax revolt pitting the county's farmers against its most celebrated industrialist. Much more than a crisp illustration of the duty to mitigate, Rockingham County v. The Luten Bridge Co. offers a window into a southern community's struggles with a divided social order, the introduction of wealth into local politics, and a changing economy.
Barak D. Richman, The King of Rockingham County and the Original Bridge to NowhereContracts Stories 306-336 (2006)