Can a plaintiff pursue a claim for damages against a defendant who has already recovered his losses?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Cuttell v. Bentz, 1985 CanLII 565 (BC CA):

Bird v. Randall (1762), 3 Burr. 1345, 97 E.R. 866, confirmed that a plaintiff cannot pursue a claim where he has already recovered his losses. A servant had compensated his master for leaving the master's service. The master then claimed against the defendant for seducing the servant from the master. The claim failed. In the course of his judgment, Lord Mansfield said (at p. 1352): …for civil injuries, a man ought not, in point of justice, to recover more than in proportion to what he has actually suffered … Here is no injury at all done to the master: for, he has recovered and received a complete satisfaction and more. Therefore all the injury is done away, and is as if it never existed.

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