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Bringing a case for breach of contract in Florida

Contracts are important legal instruments that help accomplish trust between people and business for personal, commercial or legal reasons. It is important, therefore, to be aware of what a contract entitles a party to do if he or she believes another party has breached the terms of the contract.

A claimant has an important burden of proof under Florida law to recover damages from a defendant when alleging that a contract has been breached. The original document must first be provided to show that the two parties entered into a contract.

The person bringing the suit must also prove that he or she did all of things required by the contract, or at least the essential elements for the stated purposes of the contract. This requirement can only be waived if there is evidence that the claimant was excused from these responsibilities.

Conditions must have allowed for the fulfillment of the contract by the defendant. For example, a special clause in the contract could excuse the parties if poor weather did not allow for construction or transportation because the conditions are not right.

Finally, the defendant's liability must be demonstrated by showing his or her failure to complete the activities in the contract, or at least the essential parts of it. Alternatively, the defendant may have done something or shared information in a way prohibited by the contract.

The claimant must show that he or she was harmed in some financial or material way that requires compensation from the defendant.

The Florida judgement Friedman v. New York Life Insurance Co. summed up these requirements as "an adequately pled breach of contract action requires three elements: a valid contract, a material breach and damages."

If you have entered into a contract that was breached, and you believe you can prove damages, you have rights under Florida law to bring action against the other party in the contract. Consult a legal counsel with experience in breach of contract to determine the best course of action.

Source: Florida State Legislature, "Florida Statute 95.11," accessed July 19, 2017

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