Frederick, MD, Contract Dispute Lawyer
Your business relies on contracts to create certainty and predictability, which is why you need a Frederick, MD, contract dispute lawyer. It’s hard to run a business if you’re unable to plan. That’s easier when you have contracts with suppliers, contractors, employees, and customers. Situations change, and a contract may no longer be a great fit for the parties. Lusk Law, LLC, can resolve contractual disputes and protect your rights at a reasonable cost.
Contract law attorney Rebekah Lusk of Lusk Law, LLC is an experienced Frederick contract dispute attorney who knows the law and small businesses. If you have questions about contract law or need help with a dispute, call attorney Rebekah Lusk and her team at Lusk Law, LLC, at 443-535-9715.
A Contract Dispute Attorney Can Determine Whether a Contract is Binding on the Parties
A contract is a legally binding agreement or promise between parties. It can be written, spoken, or implied by the parties’ actions (though some contracts are valid only if they’re written). If you’re accused of breaching an unwritten contract and think you’re in the clear because it wasn’t formalized or signed, you may be wrong – it depends on the facts.
A binding contract must have:
- Competent Parties: Minors and those who are mentally incapacitated aren’t bound by contracts.
- Offer: A party proposes to do or pay something. It comes with a commitment, is communicated to the other party, and has conditions or terms. The offer can be accepted or denied or a counteroffer can be made
- Acceptance: The terms are mutually agreed upon. The offer is made; counteroffers may follow and be negotiated; the final terms are understood by both parties and are accepted. They agree to the same thing, referred to as “a meeting of the minds.”
- Consideration: Each party gives and gains something of value, though it need not be much. It can even be one party’s agreeing to not do something, like exercising a right, in exchange for payment
- Performance: The parties fulfill their contractual obligations. Depending on the situation, a party need not do everything in a contract to discharge its obligations. These situations often cause disputes because one party
Our Contract Dispute Lawyers Handle Many Issues That Can Come Up
Contract disagreements are limited only by the parties’ circumstances and how confrontational or flexible the parties want to be. A contract dispute lawyer can help you with:
Breach of Contract
A breach of contract happens if one party doesn’t sufficiently live up to their end of the bargain. This can be a failure to perform, a refusal to perform, or one party making it impossible for the other party to perform.
All important conditions should be clear in the contract. If one party is to start doing or supplying something on a set date, but that doesn’t happen, this would be a failure to perform. If the other party showed up but you failed to do something so they can’t follow through, you’ve made it impossible for them to perform. If the other party does what they’re obligated to do, but you won’t respond as required (like pay them), you’ve refused to perform.
Breach of contract disputes typically come down to claims of substantial performance vs. material breach:
- If you complied, in good faith, by performing the essential terms of a contract, this substantial (but incomplete) performance may be enough to discharge your legal obligations. What wasn’t done or supplied creates minor problems for the other party.
- What isn’t acceptable is a material breach of a contract. That’s a failure to perform that cuts to the heart of the contract and defeats its purpose. At issue would be whether the non-performing party can fix the problem, is acting in good faith, and whether the other party is ready, willing, and able to live up to their obligations.
Cold Feet in Fulfilling and Adhering to a Contract
You may have, in good faith, negotiated and entered into a contract. It meets all the legal requirements and is enforceable. The other party, for whatever reason, has second thoughts and asks that the agreement be voided or substantially changed.
A well-thought-out contract involving businesses should have language describing when it ends or how a party can end it. There’s usually a period of time where one party must give notice to the other that they want the contract to end. There may be penalties for prematurely ending the contract. There should also be language spelling out how the parties can negotiate changing the contract.
If your contract has none of this, a party may decide to not perform its obligations. If negotiations by a contract dispute lawyer in Frederick don’t result in a new arrangement both sides can live with, the party harmed by the breach could go to court to ask the judge to order the other party to comply with the contract (known as specific performance) or pay it how much it reasonably expects to benefit if the contract went forward.
An experienced contract lawyer not only can help craft well-drafted contracts, but also review your existing contracts. If you need to pursue litigation, our contract dispute lawyers at Lusk Law have significant experience taking clients’ cases to court.
Our team can help you at any stage of your dispute related to a contract. Call us today for help at 443-535-9715.
Who Must Do What in a Contract?
There are costs and benefits to different approaches to writing a contract.
- A contract can be very detailed and go on for many pages about the parties’ rights and responsibilities. This can lengthen the process of completing and accepting it. It may also scare away potential parties who don’t want to spend the time, energy, and money needed to negotiate a highly complex agreement.
- A contract that’s broader and less detailed should be shorter and less complex. But it also leaves more open to interpretation and creates possible disagreements over what the two parties agreed upon.
How could this play out? Suppose Party A believes Party B isn’t living up to its obligations:
- If a more detailed approach is used, and what’s at issue is one of the 47 things listed that Party B needs to do, Party A has a much stronger argument. Party A could think this work is required to get the 47 things done. Party B could disagree and state that if it was that important, Party A should have put it in the contract
- With a more vague approach, Party A may interpret the language as requiring the work, and Party B could interpret it the opposite way
If the parties both want the relationship to continue, a Maryland contract dispute attorney could negotiate changes to make both parties happy enough. There should be some give and take, and the contract could be changed. If this becomes a chronic problem, it may be better to end or amend the contract.
The business contract law team at Lusk Law, LLC helps businesses confront legal challenges and is prepared to litigate in court when you need strong representation.
Deadlines and Prices Become Unrealistic
If a contract states that work must be done or supplies delivered by given dates at set prices, there are bound to be problems over time. Both parties assume the prices and dates are realistic; but in our post-pandemic economy of rising costs and disrupted supply chains, that may not be the case. Ideally, a contract should contain language about how dates can change and the process for changing prices when necessary.
The parties need to negotiate in good faith. One party can’t agree to a lower price just so they can force a higher price upon the other party later on. The party receiving the goods or services also needs to act in good faith if the other party is honestly doing all it can to meet its responsibilities. A party need not perform obligations if it’s impossible or impractical to do so.
How Our Contract Dispute Lawyer in Frederick Can Help
If there’s a dispute that you and the other party can’t resolve, we can help. We can be a fresh set of eyes on the problem and suggest a way to resolve disputes through negotiation. This will require flexibility by both sides to keep the relationship going.
The dispute may also end with the help of mediation or arbitration. Mediation involves a neutral third party (a mediator) who will work with both sides to reach a resolution. An arbitrator acts as a judge in a private litigation process to come up with an outcome. This may be faster than litigation, but if you disagree with the outcome, it’s virtually impossible to overturn with a court challenge. These methods may be required by the contract language both sides agreed upon.
You Can Trust Maryland Contract Dispute Attorney Rebekah Lusk to Protect Your Business
You can prevent many contract disputes by having our office create or review every contract you sign. Online contract templates are too vague; they won’t meet your specific needs, nor will they adequately protect your business. Even the best-worded contracts will not prevent all disagreements, so our contract dispute attorneys are here to help you address whatever issues come up.
If you need help with a contract, contact the business attorneys at Lusk Law, LLC – either online or at 443-535-9715.
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