Future Lost Profits

The purpose of damages (i.e., a money award from a judge/jury) is to make a plaintiff whole. With a contract case, for instance, the goal is to “restore a plaintiff to the position he would have been in had the contract not been breached.” Lipton Rlty v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 705 S.W.2d 565, 569 (Mo. Ct. App. 1986). Damages should not place the plaintiff in a “better position.” Id.

In certain cases, future lost profits are recoverable. Ameristar Jet Charter, Inc. v. Dodson International Parts, Inc., 155 S.W.3d 50, 55 (Mo. 2005). “Lost profits” usually means the amount of “net profits the plaintiff would have realized” as a result of a defendant’s actions. Id. at 54. To recover lost profits, a plaintiff must present evidence establishing the income and expenses of the business for a reasonable time before the disruption and the net profits during that period. Harvey v. Timber Resources, Inc., 375 S.W.3d 814, 818 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001).

In rarer circumstances, a new business could conceivably recover lost profits. Where “loss  is ascertainable with reasonable certainty from the breach and the profits claimed are not speculative or conjectural and were within the contemplation of the parties when the contract was made any plaintiff — even a new business — may seek lost profits arising from a breach of contract. BMK CORP. v. Clayton Corp., 226 S.W.3d 179, 195 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007).

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