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Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association

Breach of Contract Claims

Business used to be done on the merit of a man’s word, or on a handshake. It’s hard to imagine that kind of trust in today’s culture, where detailed contracts define business relationships. Experienced (and expensive) attorneys negotiate terms to which both parties agree to adhere. Unfortunately, even then, contracts can be broken, or “breached.”

What is a Contract?

A contract is an agreement or exchange of promises between two or more persons to do or not to do certain things. This agreement or exchange of promises can be oral or in writing and must be supported by something of value. The requirements for a valid contract are an offer, an acceptance, consideration, competent parties, and a legal purpose. Under Tennessee law, in order to have a claim for a breach of contract, you must demonstrate that there is an enforceable contract, a nonperformance amounting to a breach, and damages caused by the breach.

What Happens When a Contract is Breached?

If a party does not perform according to the contract terms, that party has committed a breach of the contract. Any unexcused breach of contract allows a non-breaching party to recover damages.

The breach of contract must be a material breach. A minor and insubstantial failure of a party to meet the terms of a contract does not entitle the other party to reject the contract and not be responsible under it.

What Damages may be Recovered?

The plaintiff is not entitled to be put in a better position by a recovery of damages for breach of contract than would have been realized had there been full performance. The damages to be awarded are those that may fairly and reasonably be considered as arising out of the breach or those that may reasonably have been in the contemplation of the parties when the contract was made. Damages that are remote or speculative may not be awarded.

Generally, the jury may award all damages which are the normal and foreseeable results of a breach of contract. Such damages include reasonably foreseeable incidental damages. Incidental damages include additional costs incurred by the plaintiff after the breach in a reasonable attempt to avoid loss.

Similar Claims
  • Breach of Express Warranty: a sale of goods may include a positive statement of fact or promise by the seller that the goods possess certain characteristics. An affirmation of fact or a promise is called a warranty. A warranty may be made orally or in writing, or it may be implied from the circumstances of the sale. An affirmation of fact or promise made by the seller to the buyer that relates to the goods and upon which the buyer relies in making the decision to buy creates an express warranty that the goods shall conform to the affirmation or promise.
  • Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability: a sale of goods contains an implied warranty that the goods are merchantable. The implied warranty of merchantability requires that the goods:
    1. pass without objection in the trade for goods of the description agreed upon in the contract between the parties
    2. are fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used.
  • Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for Particular Purpose: There is an implied warranty that goods shall be fit for the particular purpose for which the goods are required if, at the time of sale, the seller has reason to know the purpose and that the buyer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods for that purpose.
  • Fraud: To recover under this theory, a plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence each of the following:
    1. the defendant made a representation as to a present or past material fact to the Plaintiff
    2. the representation was false
    3. the defendants knew the representation was false
    4. the defendants intended the Plaintiff would rely upon the representation and to act or not act in reliance upon it
    5. the plaintiff did not know that the representation was false and was justified in relying upon the truth of the representation; and the plaintiff acted in reliance upon the representation
    6. as a result of the plaintiff’s reliance upon the defendant’s representation, the plaintiff has sustained damage.
Do You Need a Breach of Contract Lawyer? Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

With more than 75 years of combined experience and more than $45 million recovered for our clients, The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto are serious lawyers who know how to win. We represent clients in lawsuits involving breaches of contract and the above related claims. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call (865) 691-2777 or use our convenient online form.

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