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Breach of Contract




How to Get Justice When Someone Breaks a Promise

A breach of contract complaint is the answer when you need to sue another party for failure to perform duties under the contract. Does someone owe you money? US Legal Forms offers the breach of contract forms and breach of contract samples you need to win in all types of contract matters. By filing a breach of contract complaint, you can recover the cost of the lawsuit, as well as damages and/or difference in value caused by the breach.

What is a Breach of Contract

A breach of contract is a failure to perform a duty that is an obligation under the terms of the contract involved. It is basically a breach of promise, or a failure to perform obligations under the contract according to the terms of the contract. The failure to perform duties under the contract may be intentional or not, and there may be other related claims, such as fraud, that may be included in the breach of contract complaint. The failure of performance must be considered a material breach, meaning that it is significant and affects the value of the contract. For example, a tenant who is behind in rent or moves early out without notice is in breach of the lease contract.

An anticipatory breach of contract occurs when the other party indicates there will be a failure to perform according to contract terms before the actual time for performance arrives. Typically, an express statement of an intent not to carry out obligations under the contract must be made. When an anticipatory breach occurs, the non-breaching party is no longer obligated to fulfill his or her duties under the contract, and the anticipatory breach may be raised in a defense in any later claim for breach of promise.

How to Get A Court Order After a Breach of Contract

When a breach of contract occurs and the parties can't reach agreement on a settlement, a breach of contract lawsuit may be filed. The party to the contract who is the non-breaching party and files the contract complaint is called the plaintiff, and the breaching party is named as the defendant. The plaintiff must remain willing or make an offer to perform the obligations under the contract in order to complain about the defendant's breach. A sample complaint can be filled out requesting damages to compensate for the plaintiff's losses.

Specific performance, in which the plaintiff asks the court to order the defendant to carry out the terms of the contract, is only ordered when the defendant's performance involves something of such a unique nature that it can't be substituted. An example of a complaint requesting specific performance might be one involving the sale of a rare collector's car. Most often, the court will instead order money damages to compensate for the breach of duty. Damages in breach of contract cases are designed to restore the plaintiffs to the position they held before the breach rather than punish the defendant for the breach of duty.

Breach of Contract FAQs

What is a breach of contract?

A breach of contract is basically what happens when an enforceable promise is broken. The breach of promise is a failure to perform terms of the agreement. It occurs when the other party fails to uphold his or her duties under a contract. The failure to perform must be considered a material breach, meaning that the breach is significant enough to affect the value of the agreement.

What can I do about a breach of contract?

If the failure to perform of the other party isn't due to any fault by the non-breaching party, it is possible for the non-breaching party to sue the other party or parties in a breach of contract lawsuit to recover losses or the difference in value caused by the breach. In the case of an anticipatory breach, when the future failure to perform is evident before the time for performance arises, the non-breaching party must be ready to offer to perform their obligations under the contract in order to sue the other party.

What can a court order in a contract lawsuit?

Contract law doesn't seek to punish the breaching party, but rather, to restore the non-breaching party to their position had the breach not occurred. In some cases involving fraud, punitive damages may be awarded. Specific performance ordering the defendant to perform a duty under the contract will usually not be ordered when money damages will allow the plaintiff to recover the cost of losses. Specific performance is typically ordered only when the item or service involved is so unique, a replacement can't be found. US Legal Forms has professionally drafted contract complaint forms available if you need an example of a complaint for any type of dispute. A sample lawsuit complaint may be previewed for free before downloading.

How do I file a contract complaint?

A contract lawsuit is begun by the filing of the contract complaint in the appropriate court and paying the filing fee, and serving copies on the defendants. A contract lawsuit can be filed where the defendant resides or does business, or where the contract was formed or designates for a contract lawsuit to be filed. Because of due process requirements, the a defendant must have minimum contacts with the jurisdiction where you file in order to be served with the complaint. US Legal Forms has an example of a complaint form for contracts of all types, and free previews of a sample lawsuit form are available.

What does a breach of contract complaint need to contain?

The breach of contract complaint should include at least the following basic elements:

  • The names and addresses of each party to the contract.
  • The facts stating why the court has jurisdiction over the contract lawsuit.
  • A description of the contract involved and how the defendant committed a material breach of terms of the contract, thereby causing loss to the plaintiff.
  • The relief or amount the plaintiff requests from the court to recover the losses caused by the defendant's breach of duty under the contract.