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nominal damages

n. a small amount of money awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit to show he/she was right but suffered no substantial harm. The most famous case of nominal damages was when Prime Minister Winston Churchill was awarded a shilling (about 25 cents) in a libel lawsuit he had brought against author Louis Adamic for writing that Churchill had been drunk during a dinner at the White House. The Prime Minister was vindicated, but the jury could not find that his towering reputation had been damaged.

See also: damages 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications