Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

The Plaintiff in Default


Richard H. Lee

First Page



This article is concerned with one basic fact pattern. A party to a contract has commenced performance but has stopped short of completion. His failure to perform further is legally inexcusable. The other party has not performed, but is not in default. Can the one in default salvage anything from the wreckage of the contract when he himself "cast it on the rocks"? Can he recover the value of his part performance despite the fact that he refused to abide by his contract? The answer most commonly given by the courts is a righteous no.' But there are many factors which should, and sometimes do, enter into a determination of the question.