"market value" of services for the storage of the spent nuclear fuel that AGNS refused to accept before the Commission's ban discharged AGNS's obligations under the contract. Edison estimates the market value of these services at more than six times its actual costs of storing the spent nuclear fuel that AGNS refused to take. It bases that estimate on the price that AGNS contemplated charging for the storage of spent nuclear fuel at a time when it still expected to enter the reprocessing business.
A market for the storage of spent nuclear fuel has never come into existence, so the argument is academic. An even more fundamental objection to Edison's "market value" measure of damages is that the purpose of contract damages is to put the victim of the breach in the financial position he would have occupied had there been no breach, rather than to confer a windfall on the victim. "The injured party should not recover more from the breach than he would have gained had the contract been fully performed." Freund v. Washington Square Press, Inc., 34 N.Y.2d 379, 382, 314 N.E.2d 419, 421, 357 N.Y.S.2d 857 (1974). If the contract had been performed, Edison would have been relieved of the costs of storing its spent nuclear fuel on site -- period. Indeed, it is the straightforward character of Edison's loss that scotches AGNS's attempt to plead a Hadley defense.
This might be a different case if, but for the breach, Edison would have had surplus on-site storage space to rent out at the high "market value" it claims for the storage of spent nuclear fuel. Then it would have a lost profit that it might be able to recover from AGNS -- or might not, depending on the Hadley question, which would then arise in acute form. Wallace Steel, Inc. v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., 739 F.2d 112, 115 (2d Cir. 1984). But Edison has never alleged that it would have had such a profit. Ernst Steel Corp. v. Horn Construction Division, supra, 104 App. Div. 2d at 64, 481 N.Y.S.2d at 840. To this point AGNS's undisputed evidence that no market for the storage of spent nuclear fuel has ever come into existence is relevant, but it is the icing on the cake.
Edison also claims the market value of spent-fuel storage on a theory of unjust enrichment, and although it concedes that this is an alternative ground that would be pertinent only if I had found no breach of contract, the principal case it cites for its market value breach of contract damages theory is an unjust enrichment case. New York State Energy Research & Development Authority v. Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., 97 F.R.D. 709, 714 (W.D.N.Y. 1983). Edison has never explained satisfactorily its unjust enrichment claim. Maybe the idea behind it is the following. Section 16 of the contract required AGNS to take title to the spent fuel. If it had done so, it would have had to store the stuff, since it couldn't reprocess it. By breaking the contract, AGNS foisted its spent fuel on poor Edison, forcing Edison to perform storage services for AGNS for which Edison should be entitled to compensation at the market rate for storage services that would have existed if such a market had ever come into being.
Unjust enrichment is a standard remedy for willful takings or other violations that the law wants to make worthless to the violator by confiscating his profits, even though the result may be a windfall for the plaintiff. Dobbs, Remedies 222-24 (1973). AGNS had no profits. For this and the other reasons I have discussed, AGNS's motion for summary judgment on Edison's claim for the "market value" of storing the spent fuel that AGNS wrongfully refused to take is therefore granted.
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