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When Donald Trump is fired, he takes legal action

As Donald Trump's bid for the presidency has continued, many of his business partners have quit their dealings with him. Much of the fallout stems from Mr. Trump's perceived hostility toward foreigners in general.

Univision, the Spanish-language television network, decided not to air the Trump-owned Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, even after reaching an agreement to do so. Likewise, two restaurateurs quit their plans to open establishments in Washington, D.C., hotel owned by Mr. Trump.

In response, Mr. Trump has filed breach-of-contract suits against his former partners. And it seems has already achieved some success in this particular campaign.

What types of damages might Donald Trump seek?

In the business world, contracts are legally binding. If one or another party fails to fulfill its contractual obligations, a "breach" occurs. This is a civil wrong, and establishes grounds for the other party to sue. The offender, in most cases, is compelled to pay damages-that is, financial compensation.

There exist many species of damages, including:

  • Compensatory damages - A payment that reimburses the non-breaching party for any and all losses it may have incurred as a result of the unfulfilled contract.
  • Nominal damages - Restitution, usually minimal, awarded when a breach-of-contract takes place, but when it cannot be determined whether the non-breaching party actually suffered monetary loss.
  • Ascertained (liquidated) damages - Damages stipulated in the original contract, to be paid in the event of a breach.
  • Punitive damages - An amount over-and-above what the non-breaching party may have lost as a result of the unfulfilled contract. (Punitive damages are not typically awarded in breach-of-contract suits.)

Two lawsuits for the price of four

In the suits he filed, Donald Trump sought $500 million from Univision, and a combined $18 million from the restaurateurs. While he settled his claim with the TV network, the chefs responded with counterclaims.

By disparaging immigrants, one of the restaurateurs stated in his complaint that Mr. Trump had undermined his business. As such, he claimed, the real breach-of-contract had been carried out by Mr. Trump.

Given Trump's high media coverage these days, his commercial litigation suit is worth mentioning, however, many other business owners often find themselves in similar situations for many different reasons.

Those looking for assistance handling business disputes are encouraged to contact a legal professional.

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