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Elements of a breach of contract and materiality

Contractors in Florida rely on their contracts to maintain and further their business. When the other party fails to fulfill the terms of the contract, it can cause considerable financial difficulties.

In many cases, the contractor may be able to file an action against the party that breached the contract.

The three elements of a breach of contract case

According to The Florida Bar Journal, there are three main elements involved in proving a breach of contract. The first is to demonstrate that there is, in fact, a valid contract between two parties. The second element is that one of the parties has breached that contract, and the third, that the other party sustained damages that are directly caused by the breach. If these three elements can be proven, then the plaintiff may be able to recover damages in court. 

A fourth element

The Florida district courts have not been consistent in their breach of contract rulings, though. In some cases, they have determined that a fourth element is necessary in order to win a breach of contract case: materiality. 

FindLaw explains that materiality refers to the essential terms of the contract, or matters of the contract that are of consequence. So adding the element of materiality would require the breaching party to violate one of these. If a judge takes the view of other judges in the state, then he or she may determine that, even though there were damages, they did not stem from a material breach, and damages should not be awarded. 

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