Both oral and written contracts are legally enforceable. However, even if you trust the other party, terms can be forgotten or misunderstood. In addition, the specific language of a contract and the terms within it can be very important in enforcing the contract in the event of a breach. As such, it is smart for any contract to be in writing and reviewed by an attorney prior to signing.
California Civil Code section 1549 provides that “[a] contract is an agreement to do or not to do a certain thing.” Courts have defined the term as follows: “A contract is a voluntary and lawful agreement, by competent parties, for a good consideration, to do or not to do a specified thing.” Robinson v. Magee (1858) 9 Cal. 81, 83. California Civil Code section 1622 provides that “all contracts may be oral, except such as are specially required by statute to be in writing.” Evidence of a contract that is partly oral may be admitted if only part of the contract is fully integrated. When the parties to a written contract have agreed to it as an ‘integration’—a complete and final embodiment of the terms of an agreement—parole evidence cannot be used to add to or vary its terms. However, when only part of the agreement is integrated, the same rule applies to that part, but parole evidence may be used to prove elements of the agreement not reduced to writing.
A complaint for breach of contract must include the following: (1) the existence of a contract, (2) plaintiff’s performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant’s breach, and (4) damages to plaintiff therefrom. Acoustics, Inc. v. Trepte Construction Co. (1971) 14 Cal.App.3d 887, 913. Additionally, if the defendant’s duty to perform under the contract is conditioned on the happening of some event, the plaintiff must prove that the event transpired. Consolidated World Investments, Inc. v. Lido Preferred Ltd. (1992) 9 Cal. App. 4th 373, 380.
Contact Thaler Law
Contracts can be complicated and technical, especially when a breach occurs. There are many benefits to having an experienced attorney draft or review your contract—both before signing and after a dispute has arisen. Contact an experienced attorney from Thaler Law who can help you understand your legal rights regarding your contract.
Contact us by phone at 714-869-2900 or by email at [email protected] today to schedule your free consultation.