A breach of contract in Florida occurs when one party to the contract fails to perform one or more of the contract's stipulations. This may include the failure to pay on time, leaving the job unfinished, substituting inferior goods or products, failure to deliver the goods agreed to, and more.

When a breach of contract occurs, four things must be determined by an attorney:

  1. Was the contract in breach according to the laws of Florida?
  2. How much of the contract was breached?
  3. Is the performance in question a requirement of the contract?
  4. Was the performance excused?

A breach of contract is one of the most common causes of civil action resulting from one party not complying with a contract with another company or person.

Florida Breach of Contract

Rescission is a remedy used in Florida for breach of contract situations. It's considered a cause of action in the state. When this occurs, both parties to the contract are placed back into the position they held prior to the contract. In other words, the current contract is undone and both parties are back to square one.

In many situations, the remedy of rescission is sought by one party because the other party continually fails to comply with the contract. The aggrieved party then files a lawsuit to have the contract rescinded. The party will ask the court to enter an order stating the contract is rescinded, no longer viable, and none of the partners involved will need to comply with its terms.

For breach of contract lawsuits in Florida, there are several affirmative defenses available. The defense chosen must be claimed when responding to the lawsuit or the option to name one may be waived.

Elements of a Contract

A breach of contract has certain elements.

  • There's the question of whether there was a valid and binding contract between parties.
  • A breach of the contract occurred and one of the parties needed to have suffered materially. It must be determined what damages someone suffered resulting from the contract being breached. For example, one party suffered damages by not receiving goods or services that he paid the other party for who fails to deliver. This is a common reason for a breach of contract.
  • One party fails to pay the other party, or one party partially performs services they were hired/contracted to do.
  • The non-breaching party suffers monetary damages due to the other party breaching the contract.

While contract types can vary, the same elements are considered in a breach of contract case.

A demand letter containing a draft of the complaint is sent to the party that is in breach. The complaint states that if the party chooses not to correct the complaint immediately, a lawsuit will be filed.

If the breaching party takes action and corrects the complaint, the case is complete. If the party does not comply, the breach of contract is not settled, and it's recommended that the complainant hire an attorney.

Material vs Non-Material Breach of Contract

The seriousness of a situation for a breach of contract can range from minimal to extreme. The legal consequences are dependent on the extent the contract has been breached.

Two types of breaches are possible: material and non-material.

When a breach occurs that has a significant impact and the integrity of a contract is destroyed, it constitutes a material breach. An example would be one party saying they will pay the other party $1,000 for 50 specific items. The other party agrees to supply the 50 items upon receipt of the $1,000. The first party pays the amount agreed upon, but the other party only supplies 25 of the items. In this material breach of contract situation, the first party is no longer obligated to abide by the contract. The first party can cancel the contract and follow up with a lawsuit for damages for the total contract.

A non-material breach of contract is for a situation not serious enough to warrant a material breach of contract. In this case, the injured party can sue only for the damages incurred. Once the breach is taken care of, the injured party will be required to perform their obligations set forth in the contract minus any damages.

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