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Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Contract Litigation
Copyright 2016, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

1-2 MB Practice Guide: CA Contract Litigation 2.syn


Determining What Causes of Action Exist


Charles Crompton; Dana Dunwoody; Hon. Jon S. Tigar

Chapter Summary


In the initial client meeting, counsel should determine whether the party seeking relief has a particular objective in litigating the matter. For example, the client may be seeking to enforce an existing contract, terminate the contract and seek damages for nonperformance, or prevent an opposing party from enforcing the purported contract against the client. Although the client initially may have a particular remedy in mind, counsel should evaluate the matter and explore possible alternative causes of action and remedies with the client, taking into account all circumstances of the case.

This chapter begins with a checklist and an objective and strategy section to help the attorney determine what potential causes of action exist. Next, it provides guidance for identifying potential causes of action, and examines such threshold issues as determining proper jurisdiction and whether arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution is desirable or required.

The chapter also explains how to evaluate the validity and enforceability of a contract, and describes the grounds on which a contract might be subject to attack. Further, it provides guidance for considering whether agency law applies in determining the rights and liabilities of parties under the contract; it also discusses how a party's status as a third party beneficiary may affect his ability to enforce the contract. Finally, the chapter describes what remedies and damages may be available for a plaintiff seeking to enforce a contract; and it describes the grounds on which a plaintiff could seek to prevent enforcement of a contract, including rescission or reformation.

Matthew Bender(R) Practice Guide: California Contract Litigation is the one-stop source for guidance on the legal and practical issues arising in general contract litigation. It discusses a wide range of topics, including: jurisdiction, choice of law, arbitration, mediation, damages, and equitable remedies. It also explains the various grounds for attacking the validity of a contract, including fraud, unconscionability, public policy, and mistake. Further, it discusses pleading requirements for specific causes of action and affirmative defenses, and provides basic forms for complaints and answers, along with illustrative points and authorities. Finally, this treatise offers valuable practice tips and judges' observations, along with time-saving cross-references to relevant California Judicial Council Civil (CACI) and Matthew Bender jury instructions.


California contract litigation,causes of action,Uniform Commercial Code,UCC,contract validity,contract enforceability,contract arbitration,contract alternative dispute resolution,contract rescission,contract reformation


For additional discussion of these topics, see Ch. 3, Determining Jurisdiction and Venue in Contract Actions; Ch. 4, Determining Applicable Statute of Limitations and Effect on Potential Action; Ch. 5, Determining Whether to Arbitrate or Litigate; Ch. 6, Using or Opposing Provisional Remedies in Contract Actions; Ch. 7, Seeking or Opposing Damages in Contract Actions; Ch. 8, Seeking or Opposing Equitable Remedies in Contract Actions; Ch. 9, Seeking or Opposing Quantum Meruit or Quantum Valebant Recovery in Contract Actions; Ch. 10, Seeking or Opposing Statutory Remedies in Contract Actions; Ch. 11, Seeking or Opposing Declaratory Relief in Contract Matters; Ch. 22, Suing or Defending Action for Breach of Contract; Ch. 23, Suing or Defending Action for Breach of Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; Ch. 24, Suing or Defending Action for Breach of Warranty.


For more discussion and forms for use in the initial client interview, see Matthew Bender(R) Practice Guide: California Pretrial Civil Procedure, Ch. 2, Client Interview (Matthew Bender).

For more discussion and pleadings regarding contracts, see California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 140, Contracts (Matthew Bender).

See California Points & Authorities (Matthew Bender), Ch. 50, Contracts, for related forms and concise arguments of the law with accurate summaries of supporting statutes, cases, and rules.

For jury instructions on specific contract matters, see California Forms of Jury Instruction, Ch. 3, Judicial Council of California Contract Instructions and Chs. 3A-3I, Matthew Bender Instructions (Matthew Bender).
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