Though any breach of contract entitles the injured party at least to nominal damages, he cannot recover more without establishing a basis for an inference of fact that he has been actually damaged. A mere possibility that the plaintiff might have made a profit if the defendant had kept his contract will not justify damages based on the assumption that the profit would have been made.29 But though substantial damage must be shown in order to justify recovery of more than a nominal sum, the exact amount need not be. Where it is clear that substantial damage has been suffered the impossibility of proving its precise limits is no reason for denying substantial damages altogether.30 Under this principle, profits that the plaintiff would have made if the contract had been carried out may be recovered if their loss was a proximate and natural consequence of the breach, and any reasonable method of estimation is possible, even though the exact amount of profit to have been anticipated is necessarily uncertain.31 On the other hand," such

26 See, e. g., Cory v. Thames, etc., Ship Building Co., Ltd., L. R. 3 Q. B. 181 (cf. Shaw v. Symmons, [1917] 1 K. B. 799, where a bailee was held liable for the loss of the bailed goods by accidental fire, because he had failed to redeliver them within a reasonable time after demand as bound by his contract). The following cases also illustrate the general rule: Globe Refining Co. v. Landa Cotton Oil Co., 190 U. S. 540, 47 L. Ed. 1171, 23 Sup. Ct. 754; Fuerst v. Polasky, 249 Fed. 447, 162 C. C. A. 13; Cassell's Mill v. Strater, etc., Co., 166 Ala. 274, 61 So. 969; Western Union Tel. Co. v. Stewart (Ala. App.), 79 So. 200; Lee Lumber Co. v. Union Naval Stores Co. (La.), 77 So. 131; Illinois Central R. Co. v. New Orleans Terminal Co.

(La.), 78 So. 738; Dondis v. Borden, 230 Mass. 73, 119 N. E. 184; Davis v. New England Cotton Yarn Co., 77 N. H. 403, 92 Atl. 732; Dunning v. Reid, 76 N. J. L. 384, 69 Atl. 1013; Meyer v. Haven, 70 N. Y. App. D. 529, 75 N. Y. S. 261; Meyer v. Hudson Trust Co., 181 N. Y. App. D. 69, 168 N. Y. S. 387; Cornelius v. Lytle, 246 Pa. 205, 92 Atl. 78; Thomas Raby, Inc., v. Ward-Meehan Co., 261 Pa. 468, 104 Atl. 750; Spies v. Mutual Trust Co., 258 Pa. 414, 102 Atl. 121; Sweeney v. Lewis Ac. Co., 66 Wash. 490, 119 Pac. 1108. See also infra, Sec. 1357.

27 See cases in the preceding note.

28 De La Bere v. Pearson, [1908] 1 K. B. 280; Deane v. Michigan Ac. Co., 69 111. App. 106.

29 Troy, etc., Co. v. Dolph, 138 U. S. 617, 34 L. Ed. 1083; Curran v. Smith, 149 Fed. 945, 81 C. C. A. 537; Deslan-des v. Scales, 187 Ala. 25, 65 So. 303; Hart v. Georgia R. Co., 101 Ga. 188, 288. E. 637; Alkahest Lyceum System v. Curry Co., 6 Ga. App. 625, 65 S. . 580; Morgan v. Sutlive, 148 la. 318, 126 N. W. 175; Lowrie v. Castle, 225 Mass 37, 51, 113 N. E. 206; Wade v. Belmont Ac Co., 87 Neb. 732, 128 N. W. 514, 31 L. R. A. (N. S.) 743, 138 Am. St. Rep. 506; Walser v. Western Union Tel. Co., 114 N. C. 440, 19 S. E. 366; Delp v. Edlis, 190 P&. 25, 42 Atl. 462.

30 United States o. Behan, 110 U. S. 338, 28 L. Ed. 168, 4 Sup. Ct. 81; AnvQ Mining Co. v. Humble, 153 U. S. 540, 549, 38 L. Ed. 814, 14 Sup. Ct. 876; Bridgeport v. JStna Indemnity Co, 91 Conn. 197, 99 Atl. 566, (Conn. 1919), 105 Atl. 680; Wright v. Maynard Corset Co., 229 Mass. 343, 118 N. E. 654; Wakeman v. Wheeler, etc., Mfg. Co., 101 N. Y. 205, 4 N. E 264, 54 Am. Rep. 676; Depew v. Pfeek, etc, Co., 121 N. Y. App. Div. 28; 105 N. Y. S. 390.

31 Fletcher v. Tayleur, 17 C. B. 21; Howard r. Stillwell Mfg. Co., 139 U.8.199,36 L. Ed. 147,11 S. Ct. 500; Anvil Mining Co. v. Humble, 153 U. a 540, 549, 38 L. Ed. 814, 14 Sup.

Ct. 876; Crichfield v. Julia, 147 Fed. 65, 77 C. C. A. 297; Sanford t>. East R. I. District, 101 Cal. 275, 35 Pao. 865; Chapman v. Kirby, 49 111. 211; Washington County Ac. Co. v. Garver, 91 Md. 398, 46 Atl. 979; Dennis v. Maxfield, 10 Allen, 138; Emerson v. Pacific Coast Ac. Co., 96 Minn. 1, 104 N. W. 573,1 L. R. A. (N. S.) 445, 113 Am. St. 603; Lewistown Iron Works v. Vulcan Process Co., 139 Minn. 180, 165 N. W. 1071; White v. Leatherberry, 82 Miss. 103, 34 So. 358; Masterton v. Mayor, 7 Hill, 61, 42 Am. Dec. 38; Bag)ey v. Smith, 10 N. Y. 489, 61 Am. Dec. 756; Dart v. Laimbeer, 107 N. Y. 664, 14 N. E. 291; Fletcher v. Jacob Dold Packing Co., 41 N. Y. App. Div. 30, 58 N. Y. S. 612; Depew v. Peck Ac Co., 121 N. Y. App. D. 28,105 N. Y. 8. 390; Bredemeier v. Pacific S. Co., 64 Ore. 576, 131 Pac. 312; Hughes v. Robinson, 60 Mo. App. 194, 195. See also infra, Sec.1355, n. 74.

In Gagnon v. Sperry, etc., Co., 206 Mass. 547, 555, 92 N. E. 761, it was said: "The loss of prospective profits may be allowed as an element of damages in an action for breach of contract where it appears that the loss was the natural, primary and probable consequence of the breach, that the profits arising from the performance of the contract or the loss damages cannot be recovered when they are remote, speculative, hypothetical, and not within the realm of reasonable certainty. The nature of the business or venture upon which the anticipated profits are claimed must be such as to support an inference of definite profits grounded upon a reasonably sure basis of facts. When the elements, upon which the claim for prospective profits rests, are numerous and shifting contingencies whose relation to the wrong complained of is problematical, and such profits are not provable with assurance as a trustworthy result of the alleged cause, then there can be no recovery. Manifest ambiguities in ascertaining what would have been the course of events in the face of complicated factors, under circumstances which have never come to pass, and inherent difficulties in calculating the amount of prospective gains, prevent the recovery of damages. Pure chances lying between the alleged wrong and the anticipated profits, dependent upon unsettled conditions, render impracticable the assertion of cause and effect." 32 likely to result from its non-performance were within the contemplation of the parties, and that the profits are not so uncertain or contingent as to be incapable of reasonable proof. Fox v. Harding, 7 Cush. 516; Magnolia Metal Co. v. Gale, 189 Mass. 124, 75 N. E. 219, and cases cited; Hadley v. Baxendale, 9 Exch. 341; United States v. Behan, 110 U. 8. 338, 28 L. Ed. 168; Howard v. Stillwell, etc., Manuf. Co., 139 U. S. 199,35 L. Ed. 147; Masterton v. Mayor of Brooklyn, 7 Hill, 61, 42 Am. Dec 38."

32 Lowrie v. Castle, 225 Mass. 37, 51, 113 N. E. 206, citing Noble v. Hand, 163 Mass. 289, 39 N. E. 1020; Todd v. Keene, 167 Mass. 157, 45 N. E. 81; John Hetherington & Sons, Ltd., v. William Firth Co., 210 Mass. 8, 95 N. E. 961; New England Iron Works Co. v. Jacot, 223 Mass. 216, 220, 111 N. E. 867; Doane v. Preston, 183 Mass. 569, 572, 67 N. E. 867; Bernstein v. Meech, 130 N. Y. 354, 29 N. E. 255; United States v: Behan, 110 U. S. 338, 344, 28 L. Ed. 168, 4 Sup. Ct. 81; Holt v. United Security Life Ins. Co., 47 Vroom, 585, 596; Emerson v. Pacific Coast, etc., Co., 96 Minn. 1, 4, 104 N. W. 573, 1 L. R. A. (N. S.) 445, 113 Am. St. Rep. 603; Winslow Elevator Co. v. Hoffman, 107 Md. 621, 640, 69 Atl. 394, 17 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1130; Winston Cigarette Machine Co. v. Wells-Whitehead Tobacco Co., 141 N. C. 284, 53 S. E. 885, 8 L. R. A. (N. S.) 255; McKinnon v. McEwan, 48 Mich. 106, 11 N. W. 828, 42 Am. Rep. 458; Webster v. Beau, 77 Wash. 444,137 Pac. 1013, 51 L. R. A. (N. S.) 81; Wright v. Mulvaney, 78 Wis. 80, 46 N. W. 1045, 9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 807, 23 Am. St. Rep. 393; Paola Gas Co. v. Paola Glass Co., 56 Kans. 614, 44 Pac. 621, 54 Am. St. Rep. 598. See also United States v. Purcell Envelope Co. 51 Ct. CI. 211, affd. 249 U. S. 313, 395, Ct. 300.