Breach of Contract Under California Law

A contract is an agreement that creates obligations between parties, which are enforceable by law. A contract involves elements such as capacity, consideration, mutual assent, and legality. The remedies for a “breach of contract” include general damages and specific performance among others.

A contract is essentially a promise that the law will enforce. If a promise is “breached,” the law provides remedies to the injured party. For a contract to be legally binding, the parties must have exchanged a promise with adequate consideration.

When There is a ‘Breach of Contract’

When there is a violation of any of the agreed-upon terms or conditions in a binding contract, it is said to be a “ breach of contract.” A breach can be anything from a minor violation, such as a late payment, or it can be a more serious violation, such as the failure to deliver a promised asset.

Contracts are binding and they hold weight in court, however, the injured party must be able to prove that a violation occurred. In California, breach of contract is covered under Sections 3300-3322 of the Civil Code.

To recover damages in a California breach of contract case, the plaintiff must prove that:

  • The plaintiff entered into a contract with the defendant;
  • The plaintiff did the majority, if not all of what was required of him or her under the contract, or they were excused from doing those things;
  • The defendant failed to do something that the contract required them to do; or
  • The defendant did something that was prohibited by the contract; and
  • The plaintiff was harmed by the defendant’s failure.

The plaintiff’s complaint for a breach of contract must include: 1) the existence of an actual contract, 2) the plaintiff must have performed, or their excuse for non-performing, 3) the defendant’s breach, and 4) the plaintiff suffered damages because of the defendant’s breach.

If the defendant’s duty to perform under the contract was dependent on a certain event taking place, then the plaintiff will have to prove that that event did in fact transpire.

Generally, when a material breach occurs with one aspect of a contract, it constitutes a material breach of the whole contract. ( Brown v. Grimes (2011) 192. Cal. App 4th, 265)

Ordinarily, a breach of contract is the result of an intentional action, however, negligent performance may also qualify as a breach, thereby giving rise to alternative contract and tort actions.

Looking for an Orange County business litigation attorney to advise you on a breach of contract case? Contact The Mirkhan Law Firm to ensure that your rights are thoroughly protected.