When To Sue For Breach Of Contract

When was the last time you signed a contract? We do it often even without thinking. Consider, for example, each time you click “I agree” on a website’s terms of use. That’s a type of contract. Of course, it’s not the type of contract you will be sued for breaking. Chances are the website service will simply discontinue your ability to use it. Some contracts fall in the middle, such as one between a renter and landlord. Others are more serious, such as those signed in court or between businesses.

What does a breach of contract really mean? Business contracts are written for one reason and one reason only: to outline each party’s obligations inside an agreement (albeit usually in the most confusing way possible). Written contracts are provided to give one party a legal avenue to recoup losses when another party fails to come through. 

There are two types of breach of contract: material and immaterial. The former type of breach means that one party did not follow through, and the other party did not receive what was owed. Let’s say two parties enter into an agreement. Party A wants Party B to build a website dedicated to conservative politics. Party B hands Party A the keys to a beautiful new website all about man-made climate change. This is a material breach of contract.

An immaterial breach means the terms of the contract are technically fulfilled. These breaches often arise in tenant-landlord relationships. The tenant might have complaints regarding construction projects in the building. The noise is making it hard for the tenant — who works at night — to sleep during the day. This is an immaterial breach in most cases (unless the contract specifically outlined no construction during the day, which seems unlikely).

Regardless of what side you land on after one or more parties breach a contract, you will want legal help. Not sure what to do? Check with our friends: https://www.woodslaw.com/.

You can still sue for either type of breach. But whether or not a litigation makes sense is up to you. Did one party fail to deliver? Did one party make it impossible for the other party to deliver? 

Most states have laws that say the only enforceable contracts are those that are in writing. That means you cannot usually take someone to court over a verbal contract or “handshake” agreement. Business owners will already know this. Contracts that must be provided in writing include property sales, property leases, long-term work contracts, debt contracts, and property transfer. Speak to your lawyer to be sure that your contract is binding. 

Simple disputes might be handled in small claims court depending on jurisdiction. Most business disputes and breach of contract regarding law mean big bucks. Those breaches might be settled out of court, but when one party knows they’re right, it might be worth the time and money to let a judge settle the breach. 

The point is this: you can almost always sue for a breach of contract.