Opportunity to Cure in a Services Contract

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A contracting party who fails to give proper notice and opportunity to cure any alleged breach, default, or defect (as expressly required in the contract) is in breach of the contract. See Kalaus v Prime Care Physician, 20 A.D. 3d 452, 454 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2005)(Defendants breached the contract with plaintiff for failure to give plaintiff 30 days to cure plaintiff’s breach as expressly provided in the contract. Plaintiff was awarded summary judgment on the issue of liability). The party who is held in breach for failing to give proper notice and opportunity to cure also loses any of its claims or defenses related to the other party’s alleged breaches. Id. (“Based on the conclusion that that defendants breached the termination for cause provision of the employment agreement [for failing to give plaintiff notice of his breach and opportunity to cure], it is irrelevant whether the defendants did, in fact, have the requisite cause to terminate the plaintiff’s employment.”)(brackets added). See also The American Outdoorsman, Inc. v Pella Products, Inc., 144 P.3d 81, *8 (Kan.App., 2006)(“[E]ven if American Outdoorsman’s network change could be considered a material breach, Pella should not be allowed to assert this breach as a defense when it failed to give American Outdoorsman the opportunity to correct such breach.”) Likewise, “an injured party that acts precipitously and terminates before it is entitled to do so loses its defense as well as the possibility of claiming damages for total breach, and will itself be liable for damages for total breach.” Farnsworth on Contract section 8.18 (3d.ed., 2004).

Admittedly, the party breaching the contract could argue that (i) there was a mutual rescission of the agreement or (ii) it was orally modified. However, “to establish rescission by mutual consent, the contracting parties’ acts and declarations must be inconsistent with the continued existence of the previous contract.” AAA Uniform and Linen Supply, Inc. v. Barefoot, Inc., 17 S.W. 3d 627,629 (Mo.App. W.D. 2000) (emphasis added). Moreover, proof of these “acts and declarations” of “rescission must be clear, positive, unequivocal and decisive, and it must manifest the parties’ actual intent to abandon contract rights.” Id.

The second option, “a written contract can subsequently be orally modified if all of the requisites of a valid or enforceable agreement are met.” Honolulu Federal Sav. And Loan Ass’n v. Murphy 7 Haw.App 196, 205 (Haw.App.1988). “A requisite is that the modification must be supported by new consideration.” Id.

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