Has Bidley’s committed a material breach of the contract so as to discharge Davis’s performance under the contract?

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Has Bidley’s committed a material breach of the contract so as to discharge Davis’s performance under the contract?

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FACTS
 
Davis manages commercial real estate. In April, Davis contracted with Bidley to acquire and plant impatiens in the flowerbeds outside fourteen office properties that Davis manages. Bidley verbally agreed to buy and plant the impatiens by May 31, for a total of $10,000. Bidley purchased the necessary plants from Ackerman, who delivered them to Bidley on May 26. Bidley completed the planting at thirteen of the office buildings by May 29, but because another job took much longer than anticipated, Bidley was unable to finish planting the flowers outside the fourteenth office building until June 1. When he received Bidley’s invoice, Davis refused to pay any of the $10,000.
 
ISSUE 
 
Has Bidley’s committed a material breach of the contract so as to discharge Davis’s performance under the contract?

Explanation & AnswerSolution by a verified expert

Explanation

A material breach of contract, which is sometimes referred to as a total breach, refers to the failure to perform a contract such that it strikes so deeply at the heart of the contract rendering the agreement irreparably broken and defeating the purpose of entering into the contract in the first place. For a contracting party to be said to have committed a material breach, the breach must touch on the very root of the contract between the parties. To determine if there is a material breach, courts looks into various factors. For example, courts may want to establish the following factors in order to determine if a breach amount to material or total breach:

whether the other party was deprived of the heart of what it was bargained for;
whether the other party can be compensated for the loss;
what can be forfeited by the breaching party;
whether there is a possibility for the breaching party to sort out things;
whether the breaching party acted in bad faith;

From the above scenario, it can be established that Bidley had already completed planting the impatiens in 13 out of 14 office buildings by the due date and went ahead to complete the last office building just a day after the due date. By not planting impatiens in only one office building by May 31 did not deprive Davis the heart of what was bargained for. It is also clear that Bidley did not act in bad faith, but rather the slight delay to complete the 14 office buildings by May 31 may have been occasioned by the delayed delivery of the necessary plants from Ackerman. It can, therefore, be concluded that Bidley did not commit a material breach that would warrant the discharge of Davis's performance under the contract.
 
Reference
Stim, R. (n.d.). Breach of Contract: Material Breach. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/breach-of-contract-material-breach-32655.html#:~:text=In%20contract%20law%2C%20a%20%22material,contract%20in%20the%20first%20place.

Answer

No, Bidley has not committed a material breach of the contract

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