A contract is a binding agreement between two parties. Individuals and businesses in Washington, D.C., enter into contracts daily. When one party does not understand the contract or outright breaches it, you may need to file a civil lawsuit to make the other party uphold their end of the agreement or to receive compensation for the failure.
Breach of Contract
Individuals and businesses may encounter contract disputes even with clear and simple contracts. A breach of contract occurs when one or both parties fail to perform the obligations specified in the contract without a valid legal excuse. This includes the failure to perform the obligation to industry standards or to adhere to any implied or express warranties.
Breach of contract may be material or minor. A material breach of contract occurs when one party receives a product or service substantially different than what is specified in the contract as a result of the other party's breach. A minor breach of contract occurs when the breaching party does not deliver the item or perform the service in the manner specified in the contract, but the other party still receives that item or service.
When the Court considers a material breach of contract, they evaluate the following:
- The non-breaching party's received benefit.
- If the non-breaching party can be adequately compensated for damages caused by the breach.
- The breaching party's performance of the contract.
- Hardship to the breaching party.
- If the breaching party acted negligently or willfully.
- If the breaching party will perform the remainder of their obligations specified in the contract.
Damages and Enforcement of Contract
The non-breaching party has three options for relief:
- Canceling the contract and receiving restitution.
- Injunctive relief compelling the breaching party to perform their obligations specified in the contract.
- Receiving compensation for damages if the breaching party is unable to perform their obligations.
The non-breaching party may ask the Court to award attorney's fees, and, if the breaching party acted in a morally reprehensible manner, the Court may order punitive damages as well.
Defenses to a Contract Breach Claim
If you have been served with a civil lawsuit for breach of contract, you need a strong defense. Legal reasons for breach of contract include:
- The contract violates public policy.
- The contract is illegal.
- The contract's purpose is frustrated or performing the contract is impossible.
- The contract was obtained by fraudulent means.
- The contract contains a mutual mistake.
- One or both parties lacked the capacity to enter into a contract.
- The contract contains a unilateral mistake that the other party should have known about.
Do You Need a Contract Dispute Attorney in Washington, D.C.?
Whether you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant in a breach of contract lawsuit, you need an aggressive attorney to fight for you. You need an attorney with courtroom experience to present the strongest argument on your behalf to the judge or jury. If you are a party to a contract and the other party has not upheld their obligations, or if you have been served with a civil lawsuit for breach of contract, contact the attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC today at (202) 489-0720 or online.