Many business lawsuits result from a breach of contract. While some breaches are avoidable with detailed negotiations and well-drafted documents, others are not. As a business owner, it is vital to understand the basics of contract law, including the legal elements of a contract breach. In doing this, a Manhattan, NYC business owner’s best resource is a seasoned breach of contract lawyer.
In its simplest form, a contract is a legally binding promise. While modern contracts are typically complicated written documents, both written and oral contracts are legally enforceable under certain circumstances. A valid contract consists of the following:
However, poorly-drafted documents and oral contracts frequently lead to disputes. It is always in your best interest to draft clear and comprehensive written contracts with the help of a breach of contract attorney from a reputable Manhattan breach of contract law firm.
If you are a Manhattan, NYC business owner, consider working with a skilled contract lawyer at the beginning of every business deal. A Manhattan breach of contract lawyer can ensure that your interests are fully protected by a well-written, enforceable contract. A lawyer can also evaluate your existing contracts and determine whether they are enforceable under Manhattan law.
In Manhattan, “The elements of a cause of action for breach of contract are (1) formation of a contract between plaintiff and defendant, (2) performance by plaintiff, (3) defendant’s failure to perform, [and] (4) resulting damage.” 2 Leon C. Lazer, et al., Manhattan Pattern Jury Instructions – Civil § 4.1, at 594 (2d ed. 2006); see JP Morgan Chase v. J.H. Elec. of N.Y., Inc., 69 A.D.3d 802, 803, 893 N.Y.S.2d 237 (2d Dep’t 2010); Furia v. Furia, 116 A.D.2d 694, 498 N.Y.S.2d 12, 13 (2d Dep’t 1986).
Breach of contract occurs when a party does not perform its contractual obligations. Disputes occur when a party does one or more of the following:
Sometimes, performance is conditional upon the completion of other obligations. For example, payment may not be contractually required until goods or services are delivered. If you have met your obligations but the other party has not, then there has been a breach. However, you cannot recover damages unless the breach is “material.” A material breach is so substantial that it defeats the purpose of the contract.
Example: You enter into a contract with a construction company for a building remodel. The contract does not include specific deadlines, but promises that the job will be completed within a “reasonable time.” Due to permitting difficulties, the remodel takes a little longer than expected. However, the job is fully completed once the correct permits are in place. This may not be a material breach.
Example: You enter into a contract with a consulting company. The consultants promise to audit your HR policies within three months. The contract clearly states that time is of the essence and prompt delivery is expected. When the consultants ignore the deadline, they are in material breach of the contract.
If your business has suffered because of a breach of contract, call a Manhattan breach of contract lawyer immediately. A lawyer will evaluate your claim and review your contract, as well as ensure that your interests are protected. However, there are strict filing deadlines in Manhattan breach of contract claims. If you do not meet these deadlines, the courts will automatically dismiss your claim.
A Manhattan, NYC breach of contract law firm can help you obtain an award for a variety of damages for a material breach of contract, including:
In many cases, expert witnesses can aid you and your lawyer in computing damages for a Manhattan, NY breach of contract claim. A skilled attorney can help you maximize your recovery and ensure that you fully protect your business interests in Manhattan.
The Law Offices of David S. Rich, LLC represents businesses in breach of contract disputes. We have more than twenty years of experience, and we distinguish ourselves by diligently and tenaciously representing our clients. Contact us today for a consultation.
David S. Rich is the founding member of the Law Offices of David S. Rich, LLC,
a Manhattan Employment and Business Litigation Law Firm, in New
York City and in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey...View Profile