Standing for Breach of Contract

“[O]nly parties to a contract and any third-party beneficiaries of a contract have standing to enforce that contract.” Verni v. Cleveland Chiropractic Coll., 212 S.W.3d 150, 153 (Mo. 2007). It is difficult to prove that you are a third-party beneficiary. The reasoning for this high hurdle is that courts are reluctant to spread breach of contract liability to third-parties who receive a mere incidental benefit from the contract. So, to qualify as a third-party beneficiary, “the terms of the contract must clearly express intent to benefit that party or an identifiable class of which the party is a member.” Id. Without an “express declaration” of an intent to benefit the third-party contained within the contract, it is a challenge. Courts otherwise presume the contracting parties only intended to benefit themselves.

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