Many Florida businesses operate on a contract basis. And while some contracts can be implied and spoken, most enforceable contracts are in written form with definitive terms and signatures of all contracting agents. An effective and binding contract will typically spell out the responsibilities of each party to the others, and some will even include the type of dispute resolution used in the event of any legal action. This is usually an agreement to use arbitration as opposed to mediation or formal lawsuit litigation in open court if any problem arises. Although most contracts are unique in some aspect, breaches tend to fall into three major categories.
A material breach occurs when a contracted agent generally fails to provide the stated consideration to the plaintiff as required by contract wording. Material breaches are very common contract disputes, and many times cases can be settled by alleviating the plaintiff from their contractual obligations.
Some contracts will have multiple elements of consideration and responsibility for each party that can be violated in part while maintaining all other obligations. This is called a partial breach in contract litigation, and it can concern violating any single clause in a contract as a basis for a breach claim.
Anticipatory breach claims are filed least often of the three primary types. They stem from business situations where one contracting agent suspects another will be incapable of fulfilling the obligations set forth in an agreement. The plaintiff is essentially asking the court to intervene before any unavoidable breach has occurred.
All Florida business managers should remember that the burden of proof in a civil action is always on the plaintiff. Additionally, the standard in civil cases is a preponderance of the totality of the evidence, which can be a much lower burden than beyond a reasonable doubt.