California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

VF-303. Breach of Contract—Contract Formation at Issue

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VF-303.Breach of Contract—Contract Formation at Issue
We answer the questions submitted to us as follows:
1. Were the contract terms clear enough so that the parties could
understand what each was required to do?
1. Yes No
1. If your answer to question 1 is yes, then answer question 2. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
2. Did the parties agree to give each other something of value?
2. Yes No
2. If your answer to question 2 is yes, then answer question 3. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
3. Did the parties agree to the terms of the contract?
3. Yes No
3. If your answer to question 3 is yes, then answer question 4. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
[4. Did [name of plaintiff] do all, or substantially all, of the
significant things that the contract required [him/her/it] to do?
[4. Yes No
[4. If your answer to question 4 is yes, [skip question 5 and] answer
question 6. If you answered no, [answer question 5 if excuse is at
issue/stop here, answer no further questions, and have the
presiding juror sign and date the form].]
[5. Was [name of plaintiff] excused from having to do all, or
substantially all, of the significant things that the contract
required [him/her/it] to do?
[5. Yes No
[5. If your answer to question 5 is yes, then answer question 6. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.]
[6. Did all the conditions that were required for [name of
defendant]’s performance occur?
[6. Yes No
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[6. If your answer to question 6 is yes, [skip question 7 and] answer
question 8. If you answered no, [answer question 7 if excuse_or
waiver is at issue/stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.]
[7. Were the required conditions that did not occur
[excused/waived]?
[7. Yes No
[7. If your answer to question 7 is yes, then answer question 8. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.]
8. [Did [name of defendant] fail to do something that the contract
required [him/her/it] to do?
8. Yes No]
8. [or]
8. [Did [name of defendant] do something that the contract
prohibited [him/her/it] from doing?
8. Yes No]
8. If your answer to [either option for] question 8 is yes, then
answer question 9. If you answered no [to both options], stop
here, answer no further questions, and have the presiding juror
sign and date this form.
9. Was [name of plaintiff] harmed by [name of defendant]’s breach of
contract?
9. Yes No
9. If your answer to question 9 is yes, then answer question 10. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
10. What are [name of plaintiff]’s damages?
[a. Past [economic] loss [including] [insert descriptions of claimed
damages]:
[a. $ ]
[b. Future [economic] loss [including] [insert descriptions of
claimed damages]:]
[b. $ ]
[b. TOTAL $
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Signed: Presiding Juror
Dated:
After [this verdict form has/all verdict forms have] been signed, notify
the [clerk/bailiff/court attendant] that you are ready to present your
verdict in the courtroom.
New October 2004; Revised December 2010, June 2015
Directions for Use
This verdict form is based on CACI No. 302, Contract Formation—Essential
Factual Elements, and CACI No. 303, Breach of Contract—Essential Factual
Elements. The elements concerning the parties’ legal capacity and legal purpose
will likely not be issues for the jury. If the jury is needed to make a factual
determination regarding these issues, appropriate questions may be added to this
verdict form.
The special verdict forms in this section are intended only as models. They may
need to be modified depending on the facts of the case.
Optional questions 4 and 5 address acts that the plaintiff must have performed
before the defendant’s duty to perform is triggered. Include question 4 if the court
has determined that the contract included dependent covenants, such that the failure
of the plaintiff to perform some obligation would relieve the defendant of the
obligation to perform. (See Brown v. Grimes (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 265, 277–279
[120 Cal.Rptr.3d 893].) Include question 5 if the plaintiff claims that he or she was
excused from having to perform an otherwise required obligation.
Optional questions 6 and 7 address conditions precedent to the defendant’s
performance. Include question 6 if the occurrence of conditions for performance is
at issue. (See CACI No. 322, Occurrence of Agreed Condition Precedent.) Include
question 7 if the plaintiff alleges that conditions that did not occur were excused.
The most common form of excuse is the defendant’s waiver. (See CACI No. 323,
Waiver of Condition Precedent; see also Restatement Second of Contracts, section
225, Comment b.) Waiver must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.
(DRG/Beverly Hills, Ltd. v. Chopstix Dim Sum Cafe & Takeout III, Ltd. (1994) 30
Cal.App.4th 54, 60 [35 Cal.Rptr.2d 515].)
Note that questions 6 and 7 address conditions precedent, not the defendant’s
nonperformance after the conditions have all occurred or been excused. The
defendant’s nonperformance is the first option for question 8. If the defendant
alleges that its nonperformance was excused or waived by the plaintiff, an
additional question on excuse on waiver should be included after question 8.
If the verdict form used combines other causes of action involving both economic
and noneconomic damages, use “economic” in question 10.
If specificity is not required, users do not have to itemize all the damages listed in
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question 10. The breakdown is optional depending on the circumstances.
If there are multiple causes of action, users may wish to combine the individual
forms into one form. If different damages are recoverable on different causes of
action, replace the damages tables in all of the verdict forms with CACI No. VF-
3920, Damages on Multiple Legal Theories.
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