Contracts are the building blocks of most businesses, and millions of people form legal agreements for all sorts of goods and services. Unfortunately, one side often fails to follow through, so a legal dispute erupts. At Roger Varner Injury Law, we can help anyone accused of breaching a contract or anyone who was injured by a breach. Contact us to discuss whether you have a strong legal case.
Is There a Valid Contract?
A valid contract should have an offer and acceptance, as well as exchange and consideration. In layman’s terms, both sides must promise to do or give up something. Typically, contracts are for the sales of land or goods/services. The contract should be drafted so that the obligations are reasonably clear.
Under Alabama State Code § 7-2-201, a contract for a sale of goods valued at $500 or more must be in writing. Real estate contracts also must be in writing.
Contracts can be invalid for various reasons. One party could lack capacity because they are under 18, or one party could have lied about material facts to induce the other side to sign on. Our law firm always analyzes first whether a valid contract exists.
Remedies for a Contract Breach
When one side fails to uphold their end of the bargain, the law says they have “breached” the contract. Some breaches are minor and don’t really affect the contract. Other breaches are significant, and often a lawsuit results.
The purpose of suing is to seek a remedy from the judge if you win. In most contract cases, the remedies are as follows.
1. Actual Damages
This is the most common remedy. If you lost money because of the breach, you can ask for damages in the amount you lost. For example, you might have formed a contract to buy 500 items at $10 a piece. When the other side breaks the agreement, you can only find these items for $20 a piece. That means you are spending twice as much and have lost at least $5,000. You can ask the court for compensation for these losses.
Similarly, the seller can sue for damages if the buyer backs out. A seller might have formed a contract to sell a car for $35,000. After the buyer cancels, the seller can only offload the car for $25,000. That means they have lost $10,000.
2. Liquidated Damages
The contract might also identify a specific amount the breaching party must pay. This is a “liquidated damages” provision. Some contracts use liquidated damages if it’s hard to calculate actual damages.
3. Specific Performance
Essentially, specific performance means the court forces the other side to go through with the contract. This is a rare remedy and is generally available when money damages are inadequate, e.g., if you are buying a piece of real estate.
You might seek to have the judge void the contract entirely. Rescission liberates each side from going forward with their obligations.
Our Law Firm Can Help You
We can represent anyone involved in a contract dispute. If the other side broke its promise, we can analyze whether you can seek actual damages or another remedy. We also will help document the events that led up to the breach.
What often happens is that each side points the finger at the other. The other side might say you breached first, which gave the permission to not go forward.
Here’s an example. The contract to remodel your home requires that the contractor hit certain benchmarks—e.g., have the roof on by June 1, have the bathroom redone by July 15, and so forth. You then must submit regular payments on certain dates. If you’re late a day, the contractor might claim you’ve breached and entirely abandon your project. Now there’s a fight about who was the first to materially breach the agreement.
We can gather helpful evidence to show the other side is in the wrong. And then we can help you prove your losses.
Arbitration & Contract Disputes
Arbitration has increased in popularity. It’s like a trial, but you don’t go to court. Instead, you present evidence to a person serving as the arbitrator. The rules of arbitration are often streamlined, and it’s a private process. Arbitration can sometimes save time and money, and businesses like to use arbitration instead of going through the courts.
Roger Varner can handle litigation in court or arbitration. Sometimes our clients want to avoid arbitration, so we try to get your case heard before a judge.
Do You Have a Contract Dispute?
For help, call our law firm today at (833) 482-7637. We are well-versed in all types of contracts.