Breach of Contract
The attorneys at Cantrell, Astbury, Kranz, P.A. d/b/a Premier Litigators have a track record of successfully resolving contract disputes—whether the contract in question is written, oral, or came about through routine course of business. When litigation is necessary, we’ve obtained significant recoveries for our clients at trials and arbitrations. Counseling clients, whether they are accusing someone else of breaching a contract or are the one being accused, through complex contract disputes is a core practice of the firm and our experience is substantial.
When individuals and businesses enter into an agreement for how their relationship is supposed to progress, it can be extremely frustrating and possibly expensive when someone does not follow through with their obligations or when the other side tries to change the deal. In such situations, the relationship can completely sour, the deal can be compromised, and it can cost significant sums of time and money.
When a contract dispute occurs, obtaining experienced legal representation is prudent, both for negotiations and, if necessary, litigation. At Premier Litigators, our clients, individuals and businesses alike, can feel secure that we apply pragmatic approaches designed to meet their objectives—whether that is a bet the company resolution by trial, a mediated settlement agreement, or through more private arbitration when that is available—so that they can focus on their business.
WHAT WE HANDLE
The business litigation lawyers at Premier Litigators have handled virtually every type of contract dispute. The following are types of contracts (both verbal and written) that we have handed for clients when there is a breach or alleged breach:
- Partnership agreements
- Operating agreements, shareholder agreements, or by-laws
- Employment agreements
- Equity agreements
- Compensation agreements
- Restrictive covenants, including as a non-compete, non-solicit, or non-disclosure agreements
- Confidentiality agreements
- Sale or purchase agreements
- Service agreements
- Security agreements
- Promissory notes
- License agreements
- Insurance agreements
- Indemnification agreements
- Joint venture agreements
- Construction agreements
- IP agreements
- Loan agreements
We represent individual and corporate clients in business litigation in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and California.
WHY HIRE PREMIER LITIGATORS
The attorneys at Premier Litigators successfully counsel, negotiate, and litigate all manner of contract disputes, including claims for breach of partnership or shareholder agreements, breach of employment agreements, breach of merger or acquisition agreement, breach of compensation agreements, breach of service contracts, breach of contracts for the sale of property or goods, and breaches of many other types of agreements.
We understand that litigation is typically the last thing our clients want, and that protracted litigation can be a distraction in the personal and professional lives of those involved. While we are primarily a firm of litigators that can and will fight all the way through trial or arbitration for clients, we understand that it is not always in our clients’ objective to go through a lengthy trial or arbitration process. Because of this, we often assist with resolving contract disputes outside of the courtroom, whether through formal mediation or direct negotiations.
If you are considering Premier Litigators, we encourage you to review our attorneys. Each of our attorneys have impressive credentials, including graduating from top law schools and clerkships with federal judges. Most important, they are trial attorneys with substantial business litigation experience. For example:
- • Some of our attorneys publish articles and educational materials on matters of business litigation and provide training seminars to other professionals on the subject.
- The attorneys at Premier Litigators have many awards. Most have an “AV” rating by Martindale Hubbel (a peer-reviewed rating), honored by Super Lawyers (a peer-reviewed rating), and achieved “Best Lawyers” status by Best Lawyers (a peer-reviewed rating).
- We have substantial experience with handling – and winning – virtually every type of breach of contract dispute. See below for representative matters.
- Successfully represented real property company in their pursuit of breach of services contract. Obtained summary judgment, resulting in an award of several hundred thousand dollars in damages.
- Successfully represented entrepreneur in altering the temporary injunction entered against him during the time he was represented by another law firm in a breach of noncompete matter. Used unpaid wage claim leverage to reach a satisfactory settlement for the client and to avoid payment of attorneys’ fees previously awarded by the presiding court.
- Obtained victory at the administrative and defended administrative victory at the appellate level for a client challenging the results of an illegal election.
- Successfully represented an insurance professional against insurance company in dispute involving alleged breach of contract agreement. Convinced prior company that its non-compete and non-solicit agreement was unenforceable, in addition to obtaining unpaid wages on behalf of insurance professional.
- Obtained temporary injunction on behalf of electrical supply business against former executive in connection with breach of non-solicitation agreement.
- Won summary judgment on behalf of pension plan participant asserting entitlement to pension benefits under terms of pension plan. Recovered over $200,000, plus attorneys’ fees.
- Successfully represented group of individuals in a non-profit organization in preventing the non-profit organization from violating its by-laws.
- Successfully enforced terms of exclusive distributorship agreement on behalf of local distributor against international manufacturer.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
While contract law can vary slightly from state to state, the general requirements for an enforceable contract are:
- Consideration (the exchange of one thing for another by each party)
- Certainty of terms
- Both parties intend to create a relationship.
An enforceable contract is generally not in dispute when there is signed, written contract; however, a signed written agreement is not the only way businesses and individuals can enter into contracts. Contracts can be implied by how the parties act or can be oral. If your agreement was oral or implied, it is important to keep all information that can help you prove the existence of a contract. This can be, among other things, written communications between the parties such as emails or text messages, evidence of the receipt of money when certain triggering events happened such as the receipt of goods or services, and notes taken during interactions.
A breach of contract happens when one or more of the parties to a contract does not perform any term of the contract without a legal justification. Depending on the nature of a breach of contract, it is important to speak with an attorney and act without delay.
Specifically, if a party seeks to have a court enter an injunction to require the other party to refrain from certain conduct that breaches a contract, most state laws require a plaintiff to act without delay in seeking the injunction. Even waiting a couple of months to take legal action can be enough for a court to deny a request for an injunction.
While the damages available for breach of contract can vary slightly from state to state, the following are the most common types of damages sometimes available:
- Compensatory damages – monetary damages that seek to compensate the party that lost something as a result of the other party’s failure to perform under the contract.
- Incidental damages – monetary damages awarded to reimburse for expenses the nonbreaching party reasonably incurred because of the breach to protect against the impact of the breach, such as expenses incurred to find replacement performance that the breaching party was supposed to provide.
- Consequential damages – monetary damages awarded to reimburse for losses incurred by the nonbreaching party in its dealings that were reasonably foreseeable at the time the contract was entered into. These usually relate to dealings with third parties and can involve lost profits.
- Punitive damages – monetary damages that are ordered to punish a breaching party. Keep in mind, these types of damages are rarely available in breach of contract cases and are usually awarded only where a tort claim is disguised as a contract claim. A court will usually award these types of damages only where one party did something egregiously wrong—like committing fraud (a tort).
- Nominal damages – monetary damages that are usually small in number and are awarded where a judge or jury decides that a breach of the contract occurred, but also that the plaintiff did not prove any loss or damage. Nominal damages can be as small as one dollar.
- Liquidated damages – Monetary damages set out in the operative contract that are designed to compensate the nonbreaching party for the breaching party’s nonperformance in situations where damages resulting from a breach are not readily ascertainable—or cannot be known. These types of damages are specifically agreed to at the time of contracting and are frequently tied to the performance of a contract within a prescribed time.
Other remedies may also be available outside of monetary damages. Non-monetary relief sought in a lawsuit can include:
- Injunctions (court orders to prevent a party from taking certain actions prohibited by the contract)
- Specific performance (court orders requiring the breaching or anticipated breaching party to perform as prescribed by the contract)
- Recission (setting aside the contract to put the parties to a contract in the position they were in before they entered the contract).
If a breaching party is hurting your business, it is important to take action with a preliminary injunction as soon as possible after the breach and damage is discovered, as many states require fast action in order to enter a preliminary injunction, which is a type of injunction entered before a lawsuit is finished in order to prevent the nonbreaching party to a contract from being irreparably harmed.
Not automatically, unless payment for fees is provided for in the contract or there is a statute that prescribes the payment of fees. Many states have statutes that allow or require the prevailing party to recover their attorney fees under certain types of contract claims.
Keep in mind, without a statute that provides for attorneys’ fees or a statement in a contract that requires the losing party to pay the winning party’s attorneys’ fees, fees may still be available if you are working with a skilled attorney that understands how to use available civil procedures to your benefit.