What is a Breach of Contract?
In general terms, a breach of contract is when a business or client fails to meet the terms of a written or oral contract that was agreed upon by both parties before the incident. If either party fails to hold up their end of the bargain, they have the freedom to sue the other party for damages.
The breaching of contracts can actually occur in many different scenarios where parties feel that the opposite party did not perform to standard, but many of these cases can be attributed to one simple aspect — the wording of the contract itself.
An example: a woman named Jenny orders 50 cases of oranges for her smoothie shop from an independent grower. She expects the oranges to come ripe and ready to blend, but instead receives a case of oranges that were either still green or were on the verge of rot, and she lost half the batch before it could be consumed. She attempts to sue the grower for a breach of contract, but the grower wins the suit since she did not specify in the contract what sort of oranges she wanted.
Clarifying the contract can make or break a case. It’s important to not only be specific about the details of the contract, but also have your vocabulary terms correct — for example, the difference between biannual and semi-annual, or affect and effect.
If you have found yourself embroiled in a breach of contract suit, contact our firm in New Orleans, LA, and we’ll help you take a look at the contract to determine which party is at fault.
The Next Steps After a Breach
If you’re currently being sued or think you have grounds to sue for a breach of contract, the first step is go over the contract in detail. In fact, before approaching legal action, you may want to attempt to resolve the issue between you and the other party.
If informal methods don’t work, the next step will be to determine what is expected from each party for restitution. Do you want monetary compensation, or the offending party to perform a certain action in return? For these claims, it may be taken to a small claims court for resolution, but generally the offended party will be entitled to some form of compensation or solution.
Agreements and Entitlements
Here at Hammond Law Firm in New Orleans, LA, our experienced lawyers have worked with commercial breach of contracts for many years and reached civil resolutions. If you have suffered a breach of contract and are not the one who breached the contract, here are a few options you may be entitled to as compensation:
This is the most common remedy for a breach of contract, usually resulting in some sort of payment from the breaching party to the non-breached party. This can take the form of compensatory damages, punitive damages, nominal damages or liquidated damages. Before deciding which route to take, consult with us at Hammond Law Firm in New Orleans, LA to understand the differences and see what form of damages you are entitled to.
The non-breaching party can also be entitled to demand that the offending party perform an act as compensation instead. This could be forcing the party to perform their contracted task, or other form of act that fulfills their contract. This restitution is usually reserved for those cases where monetary compensation is not enough to satisfy the breached contract.
Cancellation or Restitution
There is also the option to cancel the contract and seek restitution – in other words, if the non-breaching party has performed their end of the contract and it benefitted the breaching party, they can sue to void that action. This will most likely set the breaching party back to their previous state before the contract was made.
For example, Jenny and her smoothie shop made a contract to give away smoothies at a carnival for five consecutive summers. The contract states that she would be paid midway through the carnival and a final sum once the carnival was over. Someone mixed up the money counts, and Jenny could not be paid for two of the carnivals. She has already given her smoothies away and now won’t receive compensation for those. She has grounds to cancel the contract and sue the carnival owners for restitution, forcing them to pay her the promised sum since she fulfilled her end of the contract. They would then be left without a smoothie seller for the next summer carnival, which could result in some very unhappy customers.
Contact Us in New Orleans, LA
A breach of contract can land any business or customer in hot water. We proudly serve clients from New Orleans, LA and beyond and our experienced litigators would be happy to look over your contract and case.
If you have been sued for a breach or feel you have grounds to sue someone for a breach of contract, contact us at Hammond Law Firm first or call us at (504) 586-3535