What Legal Remedies Are Available For Breach Of A Florida Contract?
Every business relies on contracts. They are the lifeblood of every business, and without them many businesses fail. However, all too frequently the other party in a contractual relationship does not uphold their end of the bargain. This can be devastating for your current business and plans for the future. Businesses often scale their operations based on what contracts exist and the projected income and business those contracts created. So what options for relief exist under Florida law when a party fails to honor their legally-binding contract? And how do you successfully pursue these options?
First Things First – Was there a Breach?
While there are legal options available to those who suffered from a breach in a contract, it is pivotal that all parties understand whether a breach actually occurred. In order to successfully seek a remedy from a breach of contract, you must first successfully prove that there was a breach of contract. This means that you must prove that a valid and legally binding contractual agreement existed between two or more parties. If you successfully proved that this agreement existed, AND that you incurred damages resulting from the breach of such a contract, you can pursue certain legal remedies.
Legal Remedies Available After a Breach of Contract
Several potential legal remedies exist when a breach of contract has occurred. Namely:
Damages are monetary compensation awarded in order to make someone “whole” after they suffer “damages” from the breach of a valid legal contract. Different types of damages exist and will be awarded based on the circumstances of the breach.
General damages (aka compensatory damages) are awarded when one party needs to be compensated in order to put them into the same position they would be in had the contract not been breached. This can include a money award to replace the cost of lost goods or services.
Liquidated damages might be awarded in cases where a contract, in its terms, specifies that liquidated damages would be assessed in the case of breach. A caveat here is that the party who has been injured must do what they can to mitigate these damages. For example – imagine that a company has been contracted with to remove and replace a window. If the company comes in and removes the window but then fails to replace it, the injured party will likely be successful if they pursue damages. However, the court will not look kindly on a situation where, for example, the injured party knew that the window was not yet replaced, knew that a tropical storm was coming into the area, and failed to barricade the opening. An injured party that comes to court seeking extensive flood/weather damage and claims it is all due to the breach of contract will have an uphill battle in front of them. While a company is legally bound to fulfill their contract, the injured party should also do what they can in order to not exacerbate the issue.
Specific Performance is another potential remedy. This is where one party is ordered to perform to the specifications of the contract. This might not be the preferred resolution of certain contracts, as going through court proceedings against a party might result in hard feelings on both sides.
A party may also be able to pursue contract recission – which is canceling the legal contract, or restitution. Restitution is a refund that is typically granted where a contract is unenforceable or fulfillment is impracticable.
Contact Moran, Sanchy & Associates
Contact the Sarasota business litigation lawyers at Moran, Sanchy & Associates to discuss your own business or contract dispute.