Sunday, July 31, 2011

Breach of oral contract vs agreement in writing: is there a difference?

SAME ELEMENTS (though different evidence may be needed as proof)

The elements of a breach of contract claim are: (1) a valid contract, (2) plaintiff performed or tendered performance, (3) defendant breached the contract, and (4) plaintiff was damaged as a result of the breach. Critchfield v. Smith, 151 S.W.3d 225, 233 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2004, pet. denied); Richter v. Wagner Oil Co., 90 S.W.3d 890, 898 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2002, no pet.).
The following elements are required for the formation of a valid and binding contract: (1) an offer, (2) acceptance in strict compliance with the terms of the offer, (3) a meeting of the minds, (4) each party's consent to the terms, and (5) execution and delivery of the contract with the intent that it be mutual and binding. Cessna Aircraft Co. v. Aircraft Network, L.L.C., 213 S.W.3d 455, 465 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, pet. denied) ; Hubbard v. Shankle, 138 S.W.3d 474, 481 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2004, pet. denied).

The elements of written and oral contracts are the same and must be present for a contract to be binding. Critchfield, 151 S.W.3d at 233. In determining the existence of an oral contract, the court looks to the communications between the parties and to the acts and circumstances surrounding the communications. Cessna Aircraft Co., 213 S.W.3d at 465.

SOURCE: Dallas Court of Appeals - 05-10-00041-CV - 7/29/11 (evidence found legally and factually sufficient to support claim for breach of oral contract)

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