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Elements of a Breach of Contract Claim

Under Colorado law, a breach of contract claim has four elements:

  1. The existence of a contract;
  2. Performance by the plaintiff or some justification for nonperformance;
  3. Failure to perform the contract by the defendant; and,
  4. Resulting damages to the plaintiff.

See, e.g., W. Distrib. Co. v. Diodosio, 841 P.2d 1053, 1058 (Colo. 1992). A plaintiff suing for breach of contract must demonstrate each of these elements in order to recover some sort of relief such as specific performance or damages.

In plain English, the law requires that a party asserting a claim for breach of contract first establish the existence of a contract – either an oral contract or a written contract. Second, the plaintiff must show that it performed its duties under the contract. If both parties breached the contract then there may be no relief unless one parties breach was more severe than the others. Third, the plaintiff must show the provision or term of the contract that the defendant breached and how. Finally, if the plaintiff shows all three of these things, the plaintiff must show that it has been damaged in some way and the amount.

Learn more by reviewing the statute of limitations for breach of contract claims or the elements of a negligence claim.