A contract is an agreement between people or companies in which one side agrees to do something in exchange for something in return. In order to win a breach of contract case, the plaintiff must prove that a contact existed, that the plaintiff fulfilled her duties under the contract, that the other party failed to fulfill his duties, and that plaintiff suffered a monetary loss. There are hundreds of types of contracts; breach of any type allows for potential recovery.
Existence of a Contract
Contracts are usually written, but they may also be oral or implied. When a contract is written, it is easy to satisfy this element of a breach of contract claim. When the contract is oral or implied, this element may be the subject of much dispute.
Proving Breach in a Breach of Contract Case
To prove breach of contract, a plaintiff must show that the other party either failed to pay money owed under the contract or failed to perform some action provided for in the contract. If the plaintiff cannot show that she has fulfilled her obligations under the contract, she may argue that the other party has made it impossible for her to do so.
Damages from Breach of Contract
Damages in breach of contract cases compensate plaintiffs for the “benefit of the bargain.” The goal is to put the plaintiff in the position that she would have been in had the other party performed his obligations under the contract. The four types of damages in breach of contract cases are compensatory, consequential, liquidated, and punitive.
Compensatory damages cover the direct costs and losses of the breach. It compensates the plaintiff for the loss of the bargain. The cost of reimbursing plaintiff for delivered merchandise or repairing damage caused by a breaching party are examples of compensatory damages.
Consequential damages in breach of contract cases are damages that are not the direct result of the breach but should have been foreseen by the breaching party. For example, if the defendant agreed to sell plaintiff goods that the plaintiff was to then resell, but the defendant fails to deliver to goods, then the plaintiff’s lost profits may be awarded as consequential damages.
The contract may set liquidated damages, which provide for a specified amount to be paid if one or either party breaches the contract. Liquidated damages are often made part of a contract when the parties foresee that damages from a breach would be difficult to economically quantify. Since liquidated damages cannot be punitive in nature, the question will be whether they are reasonable and not excessive.
David A. Axelrod & Associates: Proven Results in Breach of Contract Case
David A. Axelrod & Associates recovered nearly $1.3 million from an international chemical manufacturer for a construction and demolition firm. The firm successfully showed that the defendant had unlawfully confiscated thousands of pounds of scrap metal that belonged to the client.