Breach of Contract
Your business may be involved in any number of contracts. What happens if your company or the other party breaches a contract?
You might think a breach of contract claim should be straightforward but often it’s not clear who did what wrong. There are many issues that need to be resolved before one party or another can be legally responsible for harm done to another. If your business may have a breach of contract issue developing or the parties are openly accusing each other of a breach, we can help.
The contract may be in writing, created orally or through the actions of the parties. A valid contract creates obligations that need to be fulfilled by the parties who entered into the agreement. One party’s failure to fulfill any of its contractual obligations is known as a “breach” of the contract. It can occur when one party fails to perform on time, does not perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement or does not perform at all.
The plaintiff, the party bringing the lawsuit, has the burden of proving,
- The existence of an enforceable contract,
- The plaintiff’s performance of its obligations or the lack of performance due to a valid excuse,
- The defendant (the party being sued) breached the contract, and,
- The plaintiff’s damages due to the defendant’s breach of contract.
There could be any number of defenses to a breach of contract claim. A defendant could claim,
- The contract is too vague to be enforced,
- There was no final agreement between the parties,
- There was a mutual mistake of an essential fact,
- The plaintiff didn’t live up to its side of the contract, so it wasn’t obligated to comply with it,
- There was no material breach of the contract,
- The plaintiff waited too long to file a lawsuit to enforce the contract (four years in most cases), or,
- The plaintiff didn’t actually suffer any damages or the claimed damages are too vague and speculative to be ordered.
The plaintiff could ask for,
- Actual damages: The economic harm caused by the breach.
- Liquidated damages: An amount of money that’s due, as stated in the contract, if a party breached it.
- Attorney’s fees, costs: The contract may state a breaching party is responsible for the attorney’s fees and costs of litigation if a lawsuit is successful.
- Enforcement: A court order stating the defendant needs to comply with the contract.
A party may find itself in a situation where the contract terms are so disadvantageous it may make more sense to try to buy out the other party or breach the contract and deal with the consequences than perform its obligations.
Contract law can be complicated and an experienced attorney can help you navigate through the legal process. Focus Law provides experienced representation no matter which side of the contract dispute they’re on. Schedule a consultation with a breach of contract legal expert today by calling now at (714) 415-2007.
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