Civil Litigation: Possible Breach of Contract Remedies
As a business law attorney, I am acutely aware of how important small and medium-sized businesses are to the American economy. In many ways, they are considered to be the backbone of the entire system. Almost all such companies rely, to some extent, on a variety of business contracts and other types of business agreements. Contracts can be used to formalize buy or sell agreements, loan terms, employment relationships, and many other considerations.
When you enter into a contractual agreement, you likely have a number of expectations. First, you expect to live up to the provisions of the contract. Equally important is your expectation that the other party will do the same on their end. If the other party does not maintain their obligations, you could be able to file a breach of contract lawsuit. If the court agrees that the other party breached the contract, you may be entitled to one (or more) legal remedies.
Financial Restitution and Damages
When a person or entity violates a contract with someone else, the law presumes that the non-offending party should enjoy the benefits guaranteed by the original agreement. If the contract was totally breached and the breach made the contract unsalvageable, the court may award the injured party financial damages equal to what they expected to receive if the contract had not been breached. If the breach was partial, the injured party could recover the costs associated with finding another contract partner.
In some situations, the court may order restitution, which means that the injured party would be made whole again financially. Restitution is typically saved for cases in which the contract is voided altogether due to the offending party’s unwillingness or inability to comply.
Rescissions and Reformations
It is possible for a business owner to sign a contract by mistake or because of duress, fraud, or undue influence. If this has happened to you, you may be able to have your contract voided or restructured with more reasonable provisions. If the court sets the contract aside and absolves both parties of their obligations, this is called a rescission. If, however, the court opts for a reformation, it may restructure the contract to address any problems. Reformations are not very common, as courts are generally hesitant to impose non-negotiated contractual obligations on individuals or entities.
The last option the court has in a breach of contract case is to order the offending party to comply with the original terms of the contract. Specific performance orders are often used when financial damages are not appropriate to fix the problems caused by the breach. Once specific performance has been ordered, the offending party may be held in contempt of court for refusing to comply. A contempt of court finding could result in additional penalties and sanctions.
We Are Here to Help
If you or your company has been affected by a breach of contract, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Our team will help you understand your options for taking action and provide skilled counsel along the way. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.