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The elements of a breach-of-contract claim are "(1) the existence of a valid and enforceable contract; (2) performance by the plaintiff; (3) breach of contract by the defendant; and (4) resultant injury to the plaintiff."
In October 2008, Miller filed a complaint, claiming (1) a breach of contract, (2) negligence, and (3) consumer fraud. Miller alleged that in August 2002, she enrolled in the college's ITP curriculum, intending to become a certified sign language interpreter. Miller, however, was later unable to pass a test to obtain that certification, which she attributed to the college's failure to adhere to the representations the college made in its course catalog. Miller claimed that she suffered damages in excess of $50,000 because she needed to hire tutors and attend instructional seminars to pass the certification test, which caused her to lose wages she could have earned if she had been certified upon graduation. In February 2009, based on an agreement by the parties, the trial court granted Miller leave to amend her complaint, and Hill was added as a party. In the amended complaint, essentially, Miller and Hill both claimed that the college failed to provide them the proper training to become certified sign language interpreters under the college's ITP curriculum. The college filed motions to dismiss. The court dismissed the claims.
Did the plaintiffs sufficiently state a cause of action for breach of contract?
Plaintiffs' breach-of-contract claims were couched in the following terms: (1) failure to provide opportunities, (2) failure to provide training, and (3) failure to provide adequate facilities. However, the trial court was correct that absent an objective metric such as (1) failure to provide 30 of 40 contracted skills, (2) failure to provide any of the six training skills listed in the catalog, or (3) failure to provide the ITP facility as contractually obligated, our review of such a claim would require subjective qualitative judgments instead of the preferred objective quantitative measurements, which would lead to appropriate and definitive remedies. Here, the inferences to be garnered from plaintiffs' respective breach-of-contract claim was that the college failed to provide an effective education, as evidenced by the manner in which plaintiffs chose to list their damages. If, for instance, plaintiffs had properly alleged that the college failed to provide ITP 475 in toto despite their full tuition payment—which ranged from $8,300 to $8,500 (Hale did not provide a monetary amount)—then plaintiffs would most likely have had a valid breach-of-contract claim in which they could recover their tuition payment. Here, plaintiffs alleged that in failing to provide opportunities, training, and adequate facilities for one course—ITP 475—they suffered damages in excess of $50,000 because they had to seek outside assistance to become certified sign language interpreters. In other words, because the college's ITP curriculum failed to meet plaintiffs' expectations, they sought other education and now were seeking to recoup those additional expenses. Such claims, as the trial court recognized, were not the proper remedy for a breach-of-contract claim.