The Frustration Of Performance Defense To Breach Of Contract Claims

If you have a contract and the other party has done something to prevent you from complying with your part of the bargain and then has the audacity to sue you for breach of contract, you will want to read this excerpt from a trial brief I submitted recently:

“A party to a contract cannot rely on the failure of another to perform a condition precedent where he has frustrated or prevented the occurrence of the condition” A.H.A. Gen. Constr. v. New York City Hous. Auth., 92 N.Y.2d 20, 31, 677 N.Y.S.2d 9, 699 N.E.2d 368) (1998) (citing, Kooleraire Service & Installation Corp. v. Board of Ed. of City of New York, 28 N.Y.2d 101, 106, 268 N.E.2d 782, 320 N.Y.S.2d 46 (1971).

In the Kooleraire Service & Installation Corp. case, supra, the Court of Appeals summarized the applicable law:

“The general rule is, as it has been frequently stated, that a party to a contract cannot
rely on the failure of another to perform a condition precedent where he has frustrated
or prevented the occurrence of the condition. In Stern v. Gepo Realty Corp., 289 N.Y.
274, 277, 45 N.E.2d 440, 441 [1942], it was observed ‘one may not take advantage of
a condition precedent, the performance of which he himself has rendered impossible.”
Id. supra, at 106.

 

If you have any legal questions or need help with defending a breach of contract case, please contact Attorney Scott Lanin at (212) 764-7250 x 201 or use the contact form in the right sidebar.

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