Though the general principle stated in the preceding section is clear, the rule of compensation is not without exception. There are instances6 where the law because of the lack of definite proof of damages caused by the non-performance of the defendant's promise or for other reasons allows the plaintiff to recover in an action on a contract such damages as will place him in as good a position as he would have been in had the contract not been entered into. In some instances also the rule of compensation is infringed by allowing the plaintiff to recover exemplary damages in excess of the value of the wrong. In some jurisdictions it is true such damages are never allowed.7 But in most jurisdictions exemplary damages are allowed in certain cases. Generally it is only in actions of tort that they are permitted; 8 but in actions for breach of promise to marry exemplary damages are allowed if the defendant's conduct was wanton and such as to show a total disregard of the plaintiff's feelings.9 In actions against public service companies also for breach of duty which though imposed by law is enforced in an action of contract exemplary damages are often allowed.10 Likewise, in an action on a statutory bond, breach of which involves a tort for which exemplary damages would be appropriate, such damages are allowed in some jurisdictions,11 but other courts take a contrary view.12 There are also certain other rules of damages which qualify the general principle; as for instance, rules limiting the recovery of consequential damages actually suffered from a breach,13 confining the damages recoverable for the non-payment of money to interest,14 and denying as a general rule damages for mental suffering caused by breach of contract.15 But where other than pecuniary benefits are contracted for such damages have been allowed.16 It should be added that actual damage is not a necessary element of an action of breach of contract. If a contract has been broken and the plaintiff cannot prove that any damage has been caused he is, nevertheless, entitled to nominal damages.17 Even though the plaintiff is benefited by a breach of contract his action is maintainable.18
5 See infra, Sec.Sec. 1347, 1393.
6 See infra, Sec.Sec. 1341, 1363, 1396, 1402.
7 The following cases are actions of tort but the rule they state would be applied a fortiori to actions of contract. Burt v. Advertiser Newspaper Co., 154 Mass. 238, 28 N. E. 1, 13 L. R. A. 97; Ellis v. Brockton Publishing Co., 198 Mass. 538, 84 N. E. 1018, 126 Am. St. Rep. 454; Wilson 0. Bowen, 64 Mich. 133, 31 X. W. 81; Fay v. Parker, 53 N. H. 342, 16 Am. Rep. 270; Bee Publishing Co. v. World Publishing Co., 59 Neb. 713, 82 N. W. 28. In Colorado and Washington, also, except in certain cases where especially permitted by statute such damages are not allowed. Hewlett v. Tuttle, 15 Col. 454, 24 Pac 921; Helland v. Bridenstine, 55 Wash. 470, 104 Pac. 626.
8 That they are not generally allowed in actions of contract, see - Baum-gwten v. Alliance Assur. Co., 159 Fed. 275; Ford v. Fargason, 120 Ga. 708, 48 S. E. 180; Cumberland A T Co. p. Cartwright & Tel. Co., 128 Ky. 395, 108 S. W. 876; Trout v. Watkins Livery & Co., 148 Mo. App. 621, 130 S. W. 136; Richardson v. Wilmington & R. Co., 126 N. C. 100, 35 8. E. 235. In South Carolina any breach of contract, accompanied by fraud may be indemnified by exemplary damages. Prince v. State Mutual Life Ins. Co. 77 S. C. 187, 57 S. E. 766.
9 Jacoby v. Stark, 205 111. 34, 68 N, E. 557; Sneve v. Lunder, 100 Minn. 5, 110 N. W. 99; Johnson v. Jenkins, 24 N. Y. 252; Chellis v. Chapman, 125 N. Y. 214, 26 N. E. 308, 11 L. R. A. 784; Kaufman v. Fye, 99 Tenn. 145, 42 S. W. 25.
10 Pullman Co. v. Lute, 154 Ala. 517, 45 So. 675, 14 L. R. A. (N. S.) 907, 129 Am. St. Rep. 67; Strauss v. Postal & Co., 83 S. C. 22, 64 S. E. 913; Steinberger v. Western Union Tel. Co., 97 Miss. 260, 52 So. 691; Trout v. Watkins Livery & Co., 148 Mo. App. 621, 130 S. W. 136.
111 Floyd v. Hamilton, 33 Ala. 235; Richmond v. Shickler, 57 Iowa, 484, 10 N. W. 882; Renkert v. Elliot, 11 Lea, 235; Gross v. Hays, 73 Tex. 515,1 S. W. 523; Levy v. Fleischner, 12 Wash. 15, 40 Pac. 384.
12 Cobb v. People, 84 111. 511; Johnson v. Williams, 23 Ky. L. Rep. 658, 63 S. W. 759; McClendon v. Wells, 20 S. C. 514; North v. Johnson, 58