Breach of Contract Attorney
Get help from our breach of contract attorneys, so that your legally binding promises are beneficial to all parties.
When any party to a contract breaks one of those promises, that’s usually considered a breach. But, like many aspects of law, there’s quite a bit of “gray area,” when it comes to contracts. Contracts are agreements that spell out what each party is expected to do or not do in an agreed upon situation and to provide protection when legal issues arise. If your business has suffered financial damage because another party has violated the terms of a contract, a breach of contract lawyer may protect your rights and get you restitution.
Maryland breach of contract law is complicated, and to make sure you get the outcome you deserve, you should get legal guidance when disputes arise. The experienced Maryland business lawyers at Lusk Law, LLC can help by examining the facts of your situation, negotiating with the other party to see if there is a satisfactory solution, and taking your case to court if necessary.
Remedies to a Breach of Contract
Our team has helped many business owners and landlords create and enforce contracts, and we have represented clients accused of breaching contracts. If you’re in the midst of a contract dispute, please don’t hesitate to contact us about remedies to that breach of contract at (443) 535-9715.
Breach of Contract Lawsuit
If another party has breached a contract, you have several options and remedies. These include:
- Cancel the contract so neither party has any further obligation.
- Ask for restitution. If you win restitution through a breach of contract lawsuit, the breaching party has to pay to put you back to the position you were in before the breach was made.
Defenses to Breach of Contract
There’s a reason minors (children under age 18) can’t have their own credit cards: they lack the capacity to contract. The term “capacity to contract” means an individual’s ability to fully understand the terms of an agreement and potential consequences. So, people who have a cognitive impairment, such as advanced dementia, are also considered as lacking the capacity to contract.
Any contract entered into with someone who lacks capacity is illegal and unenforceable, with some exceptions. Minors can choose to void illegal contracts at will, before the age of 18. But they cannot void contracts related to their food, housing, or other necessities. So, for example, a minor enrolled in a residential preparatory school who signs a code of conduct agreement cannot void that agreement.
Common Defenses to Breach of Contract
Lack of Consideration
This means that the contract doesn’t benefit all parties. For example, a contract may specify that a homeowner is to pay an electrician $1,000, but it fails to specify that the electrician must fix the wiring in the person’s home. For a court to find that a contract includes consideration, the contract must include a promise that is normally not a legal obligation or a promise to not do something that is a legal right. A non-compete clause is an example of the latter – an employee promises not to work for a competitor in the same market, although normally he or she would have a legal right to do so. In exchange, the employer agrees to hire that person.
Frustration of Contract
This means that the contract cannot be executed, except for specific reasons. For example, if a homeowner hires an electrician to perform work on her home, but the home burns down before work can begin, the contract is frustrated and is no longer applicable. But if the work is done and the homeowner loses her job and can’t afford to pay the electrician, she is still legally bound by the contract. Other reasons for frustration include a change in the law and third-party interference. If a contract is worded in a way that the parties’ actions are considered illegal, that also constitutes frustration of contract.
Mistakes of Fact
Mistakes in a contract may be unilateral (unknown to one party) or bilateral, in which both parties agree the contract includes a mistake. A bilateral mistake might be as simple as a typo that changes the meaning of the contract, such as monthly rent amount of $8000 instead of $800. A unilateral mistake can arise out of unclear wording, wherein one party interprets the language to have a different meaning. However, unilateral mistakes may not necessarily result in a contract being void.
Landlords may at some point in their careers have tenants who stop paying rent. That’s a breach of contract. But Maryland landlords must follow certain guidelines and ask the District Court to initiate formal eviction proceedings.
Contract disputes between businesses can be more complicated, especially because each party may have other contracts relevant to a matter.
So, for example, a company hires a building contractor to expand its office. That contractor enters a contract with a plumbing company to perform work on the expansion. The plumbing work falls behind schedule, causing the contractor to miss the deadline for completion of the office expansion. In such a situation, it can be a challenge to sort out who is in breach of contract and what the remedies should be.
How Do You Handle Breach of Contract?
To sue for breach of contract, your attorney first has to show that an oral or written enforceable contract exists. To be enforceable, the agreement must have had:
- An offer – by one party to perform an act or to refrain from performing the act
- Acceptance – of the offer by the other party
- Consideration — the value to each party by entering into the contract.
In Maryland, oral agreements are enforceable under many circumstances. You have to show that both parties understood their obligations under the contract, and the courts have to be able to understand the purpose and intent of the agreement. To win, your attorney has to provide corroborating evidence, such as witnesses, emails, or payment receipts.
Written contracts are necessary for certain situations, including land sales and leases and promises to pay off debts.
To win your breach of contract lawsuit, your attorney has to prove the following:
- You had an enforceable agreement
- The other party breached the agreement by:
- Not performing according to the terms of the contract, or
- Stating it would not fulfill obligations under the contract, or
- Making it impossible for you to perform your contract obligations.
- You sustained losses because of that breach.
Damages When There Is a Breach of Contact
If the court finds in your favor, you may receive damages, an award intended to restore your business to the same position it would have been before the breach. Damages you may be awarded include:
- Nominal damages — for when breach occurs but there is no evidence that a monetary loss occurred.
- Compensatory and liquidated damages — to restore you to roughly the same position as before the breach.
- Punitive damages – for a severe breach, awarded on top of any other damages sought in court.
- Specific performance remedy – for when a financial payment isn’t enough to put you in the before-contract position. It is rarely sought by damaged parties.
How Long Do I Have to Sue for Breach of Contract?
In Maryland, breach of contract lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of the breach. For contracts with express language in the document that shows the parties intended to create a sealed document, you have 12 years to file.
Due to the complexities of the law and the time limits involved, you should contact the experienced Maryland breach of contract lawyers at Lusk Law, LLC as soon as possible.
Avoiding Contract Disputes
The key to avoiding breach of contract disputes is to have an experienced business attorney create or review every contract you sign. Online contract templates are too vague to adequately protect your interests as a business owner.
If you need help with a contract issue, contact the business attorneys at Lusk Law, LLC, – either online or at (443) 535-9715. Advocates For Life’s Obstacles and Opportunities.
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