Breach of Contract: What Happens Next?
Contracts are a critical part of productive business relationships. When you form a business contract, you have the reasonable expectation that the other party will live up to their end up the bargain. Unfortunately, sometimes another party will breach their contract obligations. If your business has had a contract breached, you need to take legal action as soon as possible. Please contact an experienced Florida breach of contract attorney who can help protect your legal rights.
Different Types of Breach
Contract breaches come in a number of different forms. The specific nature of the breach will impact the nature of your response. Generally, the breach will fit into one of four different categories:
- Anticipatory breach: An anticipatory breach occurs when one party, through their statements or actions, makes it clear that they no longer intend to perform the terms of the contract. For example, if a contract states that a delivery is to be made on June 1st, and one party makes a phone call indicating that they will not make that scheduled delivery, the contract was breached from the moment that the phone call was made. This is true even if the call was made weeks before the June 1st performance deadline. As soon as an anticipatory breach occurs, the other party is free from their contract obligations and they may take legal action.
- Actual breach: This is the most straightforward form of breach of contract. If the June 1st delivery deadline has arrived, and the delivery simply did not show up, then an actual breach of contract has occurred.
- Minor breach: A minor breach, also known as a partial breach, is typically a relatively small deviation from the terms of the contract. Still, minor breaches can be a big deal, and innocent parties may claim damages. So, if that delivery that was scheduled for June 1st suddenly shows up two days later, on the 3rd, then the contract has been breached, but the breach may be deemed minor.
- Material Breach: Even a delivery that is only two days late might still qualify as a material breach. Imagine that your business made it clear in the contract that you absolutely needed that delivery by the scheduled date, because the goods were for a one-day event. In that case, a delivery that arrives on June 3rd will be completely useless. That would be a material breach of the contract. A material breach is any type of breach that strikes so deeply at the core of the contract that it fundamentally undermines the entire purpose of making the contract in the first place.
What Remedies are Available?
The remedies available for a business contract breach will vary widely depending on the extent of the breach and the specific damage inflicted on the innocent party. Damages are usually granted in the form of compensation, but in some cases equity relief will also be available. Non-breaching parties may be entitled to:
- Compensatory damages;
- Liquidated damages;
- Cancellation of other contract provisions; or
- Specific performance of the contract.
Contact Our Office Today
The best way to respond to a contract breach is to take quick legal action. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our breach of contract attorneys have extensive experience protecting the contract rights of our clients. We proudly serve businesses in West Palm Beach County, Dade County and Broward County. If you have any questions about breach of contract, please contact our office today at 561-291-8298.