Damages: Measure of Damages in Conversion of Mining Stock

C. A. B., Jr.
1916 California Law Review  
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more » ... ntent at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW three years from the incurring of the liability.3 The meaning of this dictum is very indefinite. In Johnson v. Hinkle4 it was held by the District Court of Appeal that the statute ran from the date of removal of certain fixtures in violation of the terms of a lease of oil lands. The action was for breach of the contract contained in the lease, and it was therefore argued that Hunt v. Ward5 applied and that the statute ran from the date of the contract. Treated as an action for breach of contract the reasoning of the defence would appear unanswerable. But under the California rule the court will look at the facts stated in the complaint to determine the true nature of the action, whether in tort or on contract, and having determined this will apply the proper rules as to measure of damages and statutes of limitation.6 The facts stated show a conversion of the casing by its removal from the land contrary to the terms of the contract. This creates a "liability" at the time of that act for which the stockholders are liable under the broad provision "liabilities incurred."7 Hence the decision of the court as to the statute of limitations would appear to be correct in its result. The court, while ostensibly applying the measure of damages for breach of contract,8 concluded that the plaintiff was only entitled to the value of the casing after removal, in the absence of any showing that the land was useful for or intended to be used for oil purposes, saying that that was the only detriment proximately caused by the breach. It would have been better in this case to have expressly treated the action as based on a tort liability. Otherwise the language of the court may tend to throw confusion on the rule of Hunt v. Ward, which rightly or wrongly, has settled the rule in this state. J. S. M., Jr. DAMAGES: MEASURE OF DAMAGES IN CONVERSION OF MINING STOCK.-It is the general rule of damages for conversion that when the thing converted has a fixed value, recovery is limited to that amount with interest from the time of the conversion. This rule is embodied in the Civil Code of California,' which further provides that "Where the action has been prosecuted with reasonable diligence the highest market value of the property at any time 3 Beatty, C.
doi:10.2307/3474292 fatcat:sfkbk6p5kffivnav7qp3axtgti