What is a Breach of Contract?
When you sign a contract or enter a verbal agreement with a promise to perform, you are entering a legally binding agreement with another party. This means that both parties are obligated to uphold their end of the bargain.
A breach of contract is when a party to a contract fails to perform their obligations under the contract. This can happen in a number of ways, such as one party not holding up their end of the bargain, or not completing the work they were contracted to do. If a breach of contract occurs, the non-breaching party may be entitled to damages, or may be able to cancel the contract.”
To prevail on a breach of contract claim in Texas, you must prove each of the following elements:
- A valid contract existed between the parties;
The agreement must meet the following requirements:
- an offer was made
- an offer was accepted
- there was a “meeting of the minds”; and
- there was consideration offered by each party.
- You adhered to the terms and obligations under the contract;
The other party failed to fulfill their obligations and duties under the contract; and
You suffered damages or harm as a result of the other party’s breach.
Types of Breach of Contract
- Minor Breach: A minor breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform some part of the contract even if the specified item or service was delivered. For example, if you hire someone to replace the windows on your home with a specific material, and they use a different material of the same value, this would be a minor breach. Aside from the departure from one specific instruction, all parts of the contracted request have nonetheless been completed and delivered.
- Material Breach: A material breach occurs when one party ends up with something significantly different from what was specified in the contract. In most cases, a material breach means the non-breaching party is no longer required to perform his or her end of the deal and has a right to remedies.
The following must be present to determine if the failure to perform is material:
- The extent to which the injured party will be deprived of the benefit reasonably expected;
- The extent to which the injured party can be adequately compensated for the part of that benefit of which they will be deprived;
- The extent to which the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will suffer forfeiture;
- The likelihood that the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will cure their failure, taking account of all the circumstances, including any reasonable assurances; and
- The extent to which the behavior of the party failing to perform or to offer to perform comports with standards of good faith and fair dealing.
- Actual Breach: An actual breach occurs when one party simply refuses to fulfill their side of the bargain by the due date or performs their duties incompletely.
Anticipatory Breach: While an actual breach generally examines a refusal to perform that has already occurred, an anticipatory breach refers to an instance when the non-breaching party realizes that the other party of the contract will fail to perform their part of the contract in the future. In this case, the non-breaching party can terminate the contract and sue for damages before the breach actually happens. Oftentimes anticipatory breach may occur when one party announces in advance of the due date for performance that they intend not to fulfill their side of the bargain.
What other types of breaches are there?
- Material misrepresentation of fact, where a person is convinced to sign a contract based on misleading or untrue information. This means that something of importance was intentionally concealed, misrepresented, or withheld, thus voiding the contract.
- Cases in which a contract was signed under duress, such as blackmail or threat, or where significant pressure or force was applied in order to obtain a signature.
- Inability to fulfill the contract based on uncontrollable circumstances, called impossibility of performance. Examples include the death of a necessary service provider, loss or destruction of necessary property, or passage of a law by which contract terms are no longer legal.
Examples of breach of contract
At Carpenter & Associates, our Plano/DFW Breach of Contract Lawyers handle many cases that involve breaches of contracts. The most common scenarios include:
- Failure to provide goods or services
- Breach of construction contracts
- Failure to pay
- Breach of business partnership and operating agreements
- A delivery that arrives later than contracted
- Failure to repaint the outside of a house as promised in a sales contract
Damages Available for Breach of Contract
Contractual terms often define the damages that may be recovered in a breach of contract action. The price, quantity, and performance terms are all important in determining damages. In most cases, a judge or jury may assess and award damages. The goal is always to put the parties in the same position as if the contract had been fully performed. Calculating lost profits, identifying consequential damages, and recovering costs and attorney’s fees are all tasks that require an experienced business litigation attorney. Whether specific performance—forcing a party to comply with a contract—is available requires legal analysis. Sometimes, a party is best served by demanding rescission of the contract so that all payments made are returned. Depending on the contract and the severity of the breach, a judge or jury can award consequential damages to compensate plaintiffs for their business losses.
Plano, Texas Breach of Contract Lawyers
Your best strategy for reaching a successful resolution varies greatly based on your unique circumstances. We negotiate effectively to advance our clients’ interests. Where aggressive litigation is needed to protect your contract rights, Carpenter & Associates has a proven record of getting serious results in court. You can count on us to work with you to identify the approach that makes the most sense for you. If you believe you or your company may have a claim for breach of contract in Texas or your business has been accused of breaching an agreement, contact our legal team as soon as possible. Finding knowledgeable legal representation that has extensive experience in business litigation will put you in the best position for a favorable outcome. We offer representation throughout the DFW Metroplex for breach of contract claims. Call our Collin County Contract Lawyers today for a FREE consultation at (972) 455-8700.