Suppose the following facts:
- Alice contracts to buy a car from Bob for $10,000, in a negotiated and relatively simple written contract between competent parties.
- Alice takes the car. Edit after Mowzer's answer: Assume Alice has taken full legal possession of the car, which Bob permitted based on her contractual promise to pay $10K.
- Alice does not pay.
- At some point thereafter, Alice crashes it or it is otherwise destroyed so the car can't be returned.
- The destruction was not due to any negligence or tort on Bob's part nor any defect in the car.
- Bob would rather have the $10K than have the car back anyway; that's why he sold it.
- Bob sues Alice for breach of contract, alleging the facts above.
- At trial, Alice does not dispute the basic facts about the contract or what happened.
- The jury awards Bob $5,000 on his breach of contract claim.
As a second example, consider the following fact pattern (if commenters think this is sufficiently different, I can make it a separate question; otherwise it seems likely to be labeled a duplicate):
- Downtown League (DL), a popular non-profit, hires Candace, an out-of-state singer, to perform at their gala fundraiser event for $10,000; $100 due and paid at signing and the rest due 20 days after the event.
- Downtown League is in charge of all promotion and ticket sales; Candace only has to show up and perform.
- The gala event doesn't sell nearly as many tickets as was anticipated, despite a last-minute push to get people to show up and buy tickets at the door. The bad weather doesn't help.
- Candace shows up and performs for a small audience, fulfilling her part of the contract.
- Downtown League realizes they cannot both pay Candace and have a successful fundraiser.
- Downtown League does not pay Candace.
- Candace sues for breach of contract and Downtown League doesn't dispute the facts above.
- Candace sues in the jurisdiction where Downtown League is headquartered and where the event was held, to resolve any questions about jurisdiction.
- The jury finds Downtown League to be in breach of contract.
- The jury awards Candace $4,900 in damages on that breach of contract.
Is the jury just allowed to do that, effectively changing the price agreed to? What would happen next, if anything? Are there clear precedents/sources that bear on this?
Assume a trial court with no relevant cap (i.e. the jury could have awarded $10K or more if they wanted to).
The essence of the question is that Bob/Candace fulfilled his/her obligations under the contract, and Alice/DL did not. The juries appear to have changed what Alice/DL's obligations are under the contract (e.g. because they're sympathetic to defendants Alice/DL or because the defendants have painted plaintiffs as selfish for even trying to enforce the contract, etc.) and want to give defendants better deals than they originally signed. Can they do that, and arbitrarily change the terms of the contract after the fact? If they do, what happens next (if anything)?