Firm Blog

First to Breach? Not So Fast

The Florida Bar Journal – July/August 2018

Every law student learns the “first breach” or “prior breach” doctrine, which is commonly stated as follows: When a contracting party commits a breach of the contract, the counter party is discharged of its obligations under the contract.1 Conventional wisdom accepts this doctrine as a foundational and even simple principle of contract law. Foundational, it may be. Simple? Not so much. The first breach doctrine is commonly misunderstood, misapplied, conflated with other concepts, and taken for granted — often to the detriment of client interests.

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