Construing Contracts Cases Examples In Texas

In construing a written contract, courts should examine and consider the entire writing to harmonize and give effect to all of the contract provisions so that no provision will be rendered meaningless. See Coker v. Coker, 650 S.W.2d 391, 393 (Tex. 1983). No single provision taken alone will be given controlling effect; rather, all the provisions must be considered with reference to the whole instrument. See id. The meaning of the contract is determined by the language used therein. See Tower Contracting Co. v. Flores, 157 Tex. 297, 302, 302 S.W.2d 396, 399 (1957); Stahl Petroleum Co. v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 550 S.W.2d 360, 366 (Tex. Civ. App.-Amarillo 1977), aff'd, 569 S.W.2d 480 (Tex. 1978). The terms the parties used are to be given their plain, ordinary and generally accepted meaning unless the instrument itself shows the terms are used in a different sense. See Western Reserve Life Ins. Co. v. Meadows, 152 Tex. 559, 564, 261 S.W.2d 554, 557 (1953); Stahl Petroleum, 550 S.W.2d at 366. A breach of contract occurs when a party fails or refuses to do something he has promised to do. See Townewest Homeowners Ass'n, Inc. v. Warner Communication Inc., 826 S.W.2d 638, 640 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, no writ). A party who is in default or breach cannot maintain a suit for breach of a contract. See D.E.W., Inc. v. Depco Forms, Inc., 827 S.W.2d 379, 382 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1992, no writ); Joseph v. PPG Indust. Inc., 674 S.W.2d 862, 867 (Tex. App.-Austin 1984, writ ref'd. n.r.e.). A breach of reciprocal promises in a contract by one party excuses performance by the other parties. See Shaw v. Kennedy, Ltd., 879 S.W.2d 240, 247 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 1994, no writ).