Breach of Contract
Breach of contract claims can arise when a party who has signed a contract does not perform the actions agreed upon. The party who is not receiving the agreed upon actions can then decide if they want to bring a civil claim for a breach of contract. Being that contracts can involve many different aspects, the damages that a party can receive from such a claim depend on each specific contract. Certain types of damages can be monetary award, enforcing a specific action by one of the parties or even returning property that was exchanged during the course of the contract. Call now for a free consultation with one of experienced New York civil litigation attorneys to discuss your options if you think you may have a claim for breach of contract.
In New York State, there are four elements that must be satisfied for a breach of contract claim:
- A valid, enforceable contract,
- The plaintiff’s (person bringing the action) performance of the contract,
- Breach of contract by the defendant (other party involved in contract),
- Specific damages
The very first element is that it has to be a valid contract. Valid contracts have their own requirements, such that there is mutual obligation between parties and the parties are both competent and able to enter into the contract. An agreement between two adults for the exchange of monetary compensation in exchange for construction is an example of a common contract, but the contract could be found to be invalid if one of the parties is found to be incompetent due to disability or age.
Additionally, there must be action on the plaintiff’s part of the contract. Following the above example, let’s assume that the plaintiff is the person who is paying for the construction. Their performance of the contract would be remitting payment to the party completing construction. If they have not paid and are not intending to do so, there would need to be additional issues present for them to bring a breach of contract claim since they have not performed their actions of the contract.
The third element is the breach of contract by the defendant. This would be something like after the plaintiff has paid for the services agreed to be rendered in the contract, the defendant does not or refuses to perform their actions. In our construction example, let’s say that the plaintiff has paid the contractor, but the contractor then never begins or refuses to do or complete the agreed upon work.
Finally, there must be damages. Damages do not always mean a monetary award; they can also be for specific actions to be taken by the plaintiff or to return property that was exchanged. Still using our construction example, the plaintiff can ask that the construction be completed to the agreed specifications of the contract or they could ask for monetary damages that would compensate them for hiring another contractor to complete the project as well as to compensate them for additional harm caused by the breach of the contract.
There are many elements at work with breach of contract issues and it is incredibly important to have an attorney with you to help you understand the court proceedings and make sure that you are represented with the utmost care. Call now to speak with one of our experienced New York civil litigation attorneys to see if you are able to bring a breach of contract claim.