Barnes v. Gorman, 536 U.S. 181, 7 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 181 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

a recipient may be held liable to third-party beneficiaries for intentional conduct that violates the clear terms of the relevant statute, Davis, supra, at 642, but not for its failure to comply with vague language describing the objectives of the statute, Pennhurst, supra, at 24-25; and, if the statute implies that only violations brought to the attention of an official with power to correct them are actionable, not for conduct unknown to any such official, see Gebser, supra, at 290. We have also applied the contract-law analogy in finding a damages remedy available in private suits under Spending Clause legislation. Franklin, supra, at 74-75.

The same analogy applies, we think, in determining the scope of damages remedies. We said as much in Gebser: "Title IX's contractual nature has implications for our construction of the scope of available remedies." 524 U. S., at 287. One of these implications, we believe, is that a remedy is "appropriate relief," Franklin, 503 U. S., at 73, only if the funding recipient is on notice that, by accepting federal funding, it exposes itself to liability of that nature. A funding recipient is generally on notice that it is subject not only to those remedies explicitly provided in the relevant legislation, but also to those remedies traditionally available in suits for breach of contract. Thus we have held that under Title IX, which contains no express remedies, a recipient of federal funds is nevertheless subject to suit for compensatory damages, id., at 76, and injunction, Cannon, supra, at 711-712, forms of relief traditionally available in suits for breach of contract. See, e. g., Restatement (Second) of Contracts 357 (1981); 3 S. Williston, Law of Contracts 1445-1450 (1920); J. Pomeroy, A Treatise on the Specific Performance of Contracts 1-5 (1879). Like Title IX, Title VI mentions no remedies—indeed, it fails to mention even a private right of action (hence this Court's decision finding an implied right of action in Cannon). But punitive damages, unlike compensatory damages and injunction, are generally not available for breach of contract, see 3 E. Farnsworth, Contracts 12.8,

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