San Diego Breach of Contract Attorneys
The business world revolves around contracts. When two parties enter a contract, the expectation on both sides is that the terms will be honored. However, because contracts can be lengthy and leave room for interpretation, allegations of breach of contract arise quite frequently. In some cases, outright refusal or neglect to perform can cause a bitter dispute.
If you are seeking damages or being sued for breach of contract, it’s important to seek a breach of contract attorney who is experienced in all aspects of contract law. It’s also helpful to know a little bit about breach of contract heading into your first consultation.
What is a Breach of Contract?
A breach of contract is the failure of a party to uphold the terms of an agreed upon contract, whether written or verbal. Breach of contract arises in virtually every aspect of business, from transactions and services to employment, partnerships, and intellectual property.
A breach of contract can be considered “material” or “non-material.” A material breach of contract is the more serious offense, in which the breach involves a major term that directly affects the value of the contract. For example, failing to pay an invoice for a full month would typically constitute a material breach of contract. A non-material contract involves a less impactful or ancillary detail, such as paying an invoice a couple days late. Whether a breach is material or non-material depends on an analysis of all the circumstances, so these are generalized examples.
When Can You Sue for Breach of Contract?
The California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) provide the factual elements required in order to prove breach of contract. In simplest terms, a plaintiff must prove the following:
- The contract was legally valid and willingly entered by both parties. A written document is required in many, but not all, situations in order for a contract to be valid.
- The plaintiff fulfilled or was excused from fulfilling all contractual obligations.
- The defendant failed to perform an obligation that went to the heart of the contract.
- There were no contingencies excusing the defendant from fulfilling contractual obligations.
- The plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the breach of contract.
Breach of Contract Remedies
The plaintiff in a breach of contract lawsuit may seek money damages and, if the breach is considered to be material, specific performance of the contract. Direct damages, or those directly related to the breach, are the most common damages awarded. There might also be “consequential” or “special” damages stemming from the breach. These additional damages can be somewhat difficult to recover, as they must be “within the contemplation of the parties” at the time of entering the contract.
Additionally, the plaintiff may choose to seek incidental damages, which are similar in theory to consequential damages – i.e. out-of-pocket expenses – but typically easier to prove as they require reliance rather than contemplation. And lastly, in some cases, the plaintiff will have the option to rescind the contract and clear both parties from all obligations.
Hiring a Breach of Contract Attorney
While it may seem simple on the surface, breach of contract is one of the more complex areas of business law. If you believe a contract has been breached, or are being accused of breaching a contract, the San Diego breach of contract attorneys at Gehres Law Group, P.C. can provide reliable, affordable legal counsel. We have advised countless clients on breach of contract claims, looking out for their best interests while simultaneously equipping them with crucial contract knowledge that they can use for the rest of their lives. Call us at 858-964-2314 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.