Doing business means you enter into contracts regularly. You purchase services and supplies from vendors. You hire workers, employees, and contractors. You may offer products and supplies to others. Day-to-day business requires regular contractual agreements.
Normally, these agreements are fulfilled and both parties are either happy or relatively satisfied. But problems crop up, and issues occur that sometimes create a breach. When this results in damages for the injured party, litigation may be necessary to recover for your losses.
Breach of Contract
A contract includes a promise to fulfill specific obligations in return for consideration, such as monetary compensation. If one party fails to meet any of the specified obligations or refuses to pay for the services rendered or the products he supplies, this creates a breach.
Types of Breaches
There are minor breaches and material breaches. A minor breach is one that has minimal impact on the performance of the contract, typically a partial breach. Essentially, you have done what you promised to, but the execution may have been somewhat lacking.
For example, you contracted to renovate a home. You complete the renovation, but used normal glass instead of double-panes for the windows in the guest bedroom. This will likely be ruled a minor breach. The home owner can sue, but he must still pay you for the work you completed.
Material breaches are far more substantial omissions or errors, and indicate a failure to fulfill your contractual obligations. In the above scenario, if you failed to repair or replace anything in the kitchen during the home renovation, this would be viewed as a material breach. In this situation, the home owner can both file a suit and refuse to pay you for your work.
Defenses for Breach of Contract
All breaches are not equal. Legal reasons exist that can excuse the performance or completion of a contract. Some examples include:
- Mistake in the meaning of the contract and/or its terms
- Misrepresentation or fraud
- Impossibility due to an unforeseeable event that you did not cause
- Statute of Limitations
The first three defenses require very specific proof and factual support to enforce during litigation.
If you have been damaged by the breach of a contractual agreement or are accused of not fulfilling an agreement and are facing legal action, contact an experienced business litigation attorney in Ohio for guidance. The skills of a knowledgeable business attorney can also be very valuable prior to a contract breach when you anticipate that this may occur. He can help you mitigate potential damages.