A contract is a written or oral agreement, between two or more parties, that creates an obligation to do (or not do) a particular thing, that is intended to be enforceable by law. A breach of contract is a failure, without legal excuse, to perform any promise or obligation that forms all or part of the contract. This includes failure to perform in a manner that meets the standards of the industry or the requirements of any express or implied warranty, including the implied warranty of merchantability. A breach of contract might occur when an employee does something prohibited by his job contract; or when a customer prevents the contractor from satisfying the obligation or finishing the project at hand.
Breach of contract can be categorized as material or immaterial, depending on the type of damages the breaching party has caused. A material breach occurs when the breach is so critical that it goes to the heart of the contract and the main purpose of the contract cannot be fulfilled. An immaterial, or partial breach occurs when the majority of the obligations under the contract have still been performed. You can still seek damages after a partial breach, but you may not be able terminate the contract in its entirety.
In order to establish that there has been a breach of contract you will need to establish first that: a) there was a contract; b) the contract was breached; c) the breach caused you a loss (monetary); and d) the other party (the breaching party) was responsible. This can of course get complicated if the agreement was oral as opposed to written.
At Sodagar & Company, we handle all types of business disputes, including breach of contract claims. We can help you by reviewing your contract and determining what rights, obligations, defenses or remedies you may have.
While it may not be possible to prevent problems and disputes completely, the risk of disputes can be reduced through the use of well-drafted documents, strategizing and proper counseling. We routinely review and evaluate contract documents; draft contract documents; advise about rights and remedies; negotiate with owners, subcontractors, and suppliers; and resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation.