Breach of contract lawsuits can often be long and arduous processes that rack up massive expenses. Deciding whether or not to pursue a breach of contract suit with an attorney can be just as difficult. This blog will guide you through some of the considerations you can use while weighing your options after a contract has been breached.
Certain specific situations trigger a breach of contract. Some of the most common situations are failing to perform as promised, making it impossible for the other party to perform as promised, or making it known that there is an intention not to perform.
Some contracts can only be enforced if they are written. Other contracts can be enforced verbally, but that is often a more challenging set of circumstances. Contracts that last longer than one year, promises to pay other people’s debt, and sales of real property all typically have to be in writing.
Civil litigation is often high priced and can quickly eat away potential winnings. The risk of overspending your winning potential needs to be considered when you pursue litigation for a breach of contract. Some firms offer alternative fee agreements for litigation like contingent fees, where you only pay if you win, or blended fees that mix hourly and contingent fees.
You need to consider how strong your case is. Breach of contract defenses are allowed to be contradictory. People can use every defense to say they never breached their contract. If you are a plaintiff you need to be able to prove that an actual breach had occurred. This is done through discovery including depositions and document production. Your breach of contract attorney should be skilled in obtaining the necessary information to build a case for you.
You need to consider what you are seeking when you litigate. Do you want the person to finish the work they started? This is called specific performance. Do you want them to pay back what you paid them and end the contract? This would be cancellation and restitution. Some questions you should ask if you are seeking monetary damages are: Does the other party have money? Can I collect on that money? Will this litigation deprive them of the money they could have otherwise paid back to me?
Consider whether or not you are open to alternative dispute resolution. Would you consider mediation or arbitration? These solutions also have limited appeal options and the terms cannot be litigated again. There is the benefit of privacy for those who would prefer that.
Discuss all of these options thoroughly with a breach of contract lawyer. Weigh the benefits of all outcomes and build a plan before your move forward. Stay flexible as the case moves forward and be open to your attorney’s recommendations and ideas.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Patterson Law Firm for their insight into contract breaches.