A material breach of contract (sometimes called a “total breach”) is a failure to perform obligations under a contract in so fundamental a way that the law considers the agreement to be “irreparably broken” and the purpose of the contract is thereby defeated.
Why is it important to know if a breach of contract is material or non-material? In Mustang Pipeline Co. v. Driver Co., 134 S.W.3d 195 (Tex. 2004), the Texas Supreme Court concluded that a contractor’s material breach excuses the non-breaching party from making further payments but a non-material breach only gives the non-breaching party a claim for damages.
In all cases of breach of contract – material or not – the non-breaching party can sue the breaching party for damages. But only in cases of material breach can the non-breaching party cancel the deal entirely.
When deciding whether a breach of contract is a material breach, a Texas court will examine several factors:
- Was a party deprived of the “heart” of what they bargained for? (In other words, did the breach defeat the purpose of the contract?);
- Can the non-breaching party be compensated for damages?
- How likely is it that the breaching party will fix the problem?
- What will the breaching party forfeit if the contract is canceled? (That is, has it already put a lot of money or time into fulfilling the contract?)
- Did the breaching party act in bad faith? (In other words, was the breach willful, or resulting from unfair dealing?).
Here are links to answer other frequently asked questions you may have about breach of contract lawsuits:
LaGarde Law Firm handles select breach of contract cases in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida on a contingent fee basis. For details on how a contingent fee works, click here.
You can call us today to discuss your potential breach of contract lawsuit without worrying that you will get a bill for our time. Consultations are free of charge and there are no upfront costs at LaGarde Law Firm. Call us today, toll free, at 1-866-LAGARDE (1-866-524-2733). Richard and Mary LaGarde have a combined 56 years of experience in helping clients with breach of contract lawsuits, arbitrations, and mediations in Florida and Texas. Mr. LaGarde is also licensed in Louisiana and has helped clients with contract breach cases in that state. Their many years of experience will provide you with priceless help in your contract dispute. They will keep you informed every step of the way. LaGarde Law Firm has “by-appointment-only offices in Houston, Texas and Naples, Florida. Call today if you want to schedule an appointment.
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