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A breach of contract is, simply put, the act of breaking the terms set out in a contract, and it is perhaps one of the most common commercial litigation cases. A breach of contract can present complex challenges to any business or individual. Understanding the requirements to file a breach of contract claim is important in order to obtain a remedy (relief) you may be legally entitled. Keep in mind that it is easier to prove a breach for a written contract rather than an oral contract.

When a breach of contract occurs or is alleged, one or both of the parties may decide to have the contract enforced on its terms, or may try to recover for any financial harm caused by the alleged breach. If a dispute arises and informal attempts at resolution are unsuccessful, the next step is usually a lawsuit. The parties may be able to resolve the issue in small claims court, depending on the dollar amount.

Filing a lawsuit and going to Court is not the only option for people and businesses involved in contract disputes. The parties also can agree to have a mediator review a contract dispute, or may agree to binding arbitration of a contract dispute. These options are known as “alternative dispute resolution.”

There are three basic elements of proof for most breach of contract claims:

  1. Valid Contract: The contract must be valid, not illegal contracts or formed improperly.
  2. Breach of Contract Terms: A material or significant violation of contract terms must be proven, not minor errors or faults.
  3. Damages: There must be losses to a reasonable degree of certainty.

The main remedies for a breach of contract are:

  1. Damages, payment in one form or another.
  2. Specific Performance, the breaching party’s court-ordered performance of duty under the contract. Please keep in mind that this type of remedy is used if the subject matter of the agreement is rare or unique, and damages would not suffice to place the non-breaching party in as good a position as they would have been had the breach not occurred.
  3. Cancellation and Restitution, the non-breaching party may cancel the contract and sue for restitution if the non-breaching party has given a benefit to the breaching party. “Cancellation” of the contract voids the contract and relieves all parties of any obligation under the agreement. “Restitution” is a remedy that means the non-breaching party is put back in the position it was in prior to the breach.

When another party has not met its financial obligations to you or breaches a contract, you need a good trial lawyer who understands business. We have provided excellent litigation services for more than 40 years, and our lead attorney, Joseph Joy, is often sought to represent businesses that have been harmed by other businesses. If you have additional questions about a breach of contract, contact us to speak to him.

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