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Breach of Contract -- Was Performance Excused?

Buffington Law Firm's experienced team of breach of contract attorneys have successfully litigated many claims in which one side has alleged breach of contract.  Usually such contract will be a written document.  As discussed in last week's Blog article, the threshold question in a breach of contract lawsuit usually must be the question as to whether there existed, in fact, an enforceable contract.  California Civil Code Section 1550 delineates the critical elements necessary for an enforceable contract to exist.

If indeed, there is a contract in existence that satisfies the requirements of California Civil Code Section 1550, the next question must be whether or not the alleged breaching party was excused from performance for some legal reason.  This may involve the existence of either a condition precedent, a condition concurrent, or a condition subsequent.  [See generally California Civil Code Sections 1434-1442].

Buffington Law Firm's breach of contract attorneys recently defeated a breach of contract claim, in a multi-million dollar lawsuit involving an alleged written contract, by successfully arguing the alternative defense theory of condition precedent.  Put simply, the argument was that in order for the Defendant to be obligated to perform, there was a condition precedent that required the Plaintiff to do something for the Defendant first.  The jury found in favor of the Firm's client and denied the Plaintiff's claim for a breach of written contract.  [See generally Civil Code Section 1439].

A condition concurrent may involve actions which one or both sides must perform at the same time in order for the contract to be operative.  [Civ. Code Section 1437].  A condition subsequent "is one referring to a future event, upon the happening of which the obligation becomes no longer binding upon the other party, if he chooses to avail himself of the condition."  [Civ. Code Section 1438].

In the foregoing example, the Plaintiff was unsuccessful in his claim against the Firm's client because the jury and Court found that the Defendant's performance was excused for lack of the occurrence of the condition precedent.  This lawsuit illustrated the fact that whether or not there is an enforceable contract, even if it is written and signed by the parties, is often complex.

If you are involved in a breach of contract dispute we invite you to contact Buffington Law Firm for a free legal consultation.  You will always speak to an experienced litigation attorney, and all calls are completely confidential.

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