Our firm represents both businesses and individuals on either side of breach of contract cases. We represent clients who feel that their contract has been breached. We also represent individuals and businesses that are being accused of breach of contract. Sometimes, clients have a good reason for breaching a contract. As such, we work for both sides in breach of contract cases. Frankly, just because someone is alleging a breach of contract doesn’t mean that it’s true. Many people file lawsuits without merit. Accordingly, we’ve successfully defended and prosecuted many breach of contract cases over the years.
What Exactly Is A Breach Of Contract?
In order to understand what a breach of contract is, it is important to address what a contract is. There are four elements to a contract. There has to be an offer, such as, “I’m going to pay you $100 if you mow my lawn.” Then, there needs to be an acceptance: “Okay, I agree. ” Consideration is the third element of a breach of contract claim. In this example, the consideration is the exchange of funds/services between the parties. One party is mowing the lawn in exchange for $100 that will be paid by the other party. Lastly, in order for the contract to be valid, it has to be legally enforceable. It has to have a lawful object. It can’t be to sell illegal drugs. You can’t go to court because someone didn’t pay you for selling cocaine or another illegal drug. Those types of contracts are not enforceable. That’s why you never see those types of cases in court.
In California and most other states, there are four elements required to establish a claim for a breach of contract. First, you need: 1) the existence of a valid contract, with the four elements present; 2) you have to have plaintiff’s performance. For instance, if you’re the one suing for a breach of contract, you would be expected to perform your end of the bargain, or there has to be some excuse why you didn’t perform. For example, if I said, “I’m going to pay you $100 to mow my lawn” but then didn’t pay, you need to show you mowed my lawn before suing me; 3) the breaching party actually breached the contract. You have to prove that there was a breach of the contract; and 4) the non-breaching party has to prove that they suffered damages. Sometimes, contracts are breached and there isn’t any harm. In those cases, you would not have a right to bring a claim in court.
There are different types of contracts. For example, some people don’t think that oral contracts are enforceable when, in fact, they are. Of course, an oral contract can be harder to enforce than one in writing as it usually comes down to a he-said she-said situation. We’ve had cases in which we don’t have a written contract, but you can look at the totality of the circumstances. You can look at how the parties behaved. Did they act like there was a contract? Are there emails that implied there was a contract? Sometimes, you can establish an oral contract in other ways beyond the he-said she-said method. If so, an oral contract is are just as enforceable as a written contract.
In relation to our business clients, there is another issue we often see. Business owners who sell goods and services tend to send out invoices or receive purchase orders without having a signed master contract with their customer. However, it’s almost always a good idea to have a master contract that lays out the terms of what the relationship is going to look like going forward. You can then send individual invoices to deal with specific orders or projects. The master contract would outline important contract terms like payment terms, attorney’s fee and venue clauses (i.e., if there is a dispute, it will be litigated where our client prefers). Clients don’t want to chase someone in a different state or country. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to have a master template contract. We’ve drafted many of those for our clients and the client can use the template as a starting point with each customer and then change the names, numbers, and dates without our involvement.
For more information on Breach of Contract Law In California, a consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (714) 594-6322 today.
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