San Diego Breach of Contract Lawyer

California Breach of Contract Law
What is a breach of contract?

In California, the definition of a contract is, “A contract is an agreement to do or not to do a certain thing.” Civil Code section 1549. A contract is a voluntary and lawful agreement, by competent parties, for a good consideration, to do or not to do a specified thing. [1]

Elements: To prevail on a cause of action for breach of contract, the plaintiff must prove four things:

  • A valid contract;
  • The plaintiff’s performance of the contract or excuse for nonperformance;
  • The defendant’s breach of the contract; and
  • The resulting damage to the plaintiff. [2]
Plaintiff’s Performance or Excused from Performance

It is elementary a plaintiff suing for breach of contract must prove it has performed all conditions on its part or that it was excused from performance. Similarly, where defendant’s duty to perform under the contract is conditioned on the happening of some event, the plaintiff must prove the event transpired. [3]

Substantial Performance

Substantial performance means that there has been no willful departure from the terms of the contract, and no omission of any of its essential parts, and that the contractor has in good faith performed all of its substantive terms. If so, he will not be held to have forfeited his right to a recovery by reason of trivial defects or imperfections in the work performed. [4]

When a party’s failure to perform a contractual obligation constitutes a material breach of the contract, the other party may be discharged from its duty to perform under the contract. Normally the question of whether a breach of an obligation is a material breach, so as to excuse performance by the other party, is a question of fact. Whether a partial breach of a contract is material depends on ‘the importance or seriousness thereof and the probability of the injured party getting substantial performance.’ ‘A material breach of one aspect of a contract generally constitutes a material breach of the whole contract.

Defendants Breach

The wrongful, i.e., the unjustified or unexcused, failure to perform a contract is a breach. Where the nonperformance is legally justified, or excused, there may be a failure of consideration, but not a breach. [5]

Breach of Contract Damages

Causation of damages in contract cases, as in tort cases, requires that the damages be proximately caused by the defendant’s breach, and that their causal occurrence be at least reasonably certain.’ A proximate cause of loss or damage is something that is a substantial factor in bringing about that loss or damage. [6]

What are the defenses to a breach of contract?

We have prosecuted and defended many breach of contract cases. If you need a breach of contract lawyer or defend a breach of contract lawsuit, we can help. Please call for a free consultation at (619) 550-1321.

California Breach of Contract Lawyer. Call for a free consultation at (619) 550-1321

Legal Reference

[1] Robinson v. Magee (1858) 9 Cal. 81, 83

[2] Richman v. Hartley (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1182, 1186

[3] Consolidated World Investments, Inc., v. Lido Preferred Ltd. (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 373, 380

[4] Connell v. Higgins (1915) 170 Cal. 541, 556

[5] 1 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Contracts, § 847, original italics, internal citations omitted.

[6] US Ecology, Inc. v. State of California (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 887, 909

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