Miami Breach of Contract Lawyers
Litigating Contract Disputes for Plaintiffs and Defendants in South Florida
Every day, companies enter into contracts, from sales of goods and services to purchases and leases of equipment, commercial space, and real estate. Contract disputes can arise over the interpretation of terms and whether one side is performing its end of the bargain. At Edelboim Lieberman Revah, you’ll find a team of experienced contract drafters and negotiators who understand how contract terms are meant to be interpreted and enforced. Our skills as contract drafters and background in commercial litigation make us perfectly situated to litigate and resolve breach of contract disputes. Bring your South Florida contract dispute to a Miami breach of contract lawyer at our firm, and let us chart a path to resolving your matter efficiently and effectively, with your rights protected and your goals achieved.
What Makes a Contract a Contract?
A contract is a legally enforceable agreement with rights and obligations for each contracting party. Certain elements must be present to make a contract valid; namely, there must be an offer, acceptance, consideration (exchange of value), and mutual assent. The contract must also be for a legal purpose, made by parties capable of contracting. Without all of these elements, a contract might not exist. Common law, case law, and specific statutes such as the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) can govern whether any particular element is present and accounted for in a purported contract.
When a dispute arises over the validity or enforcement of a contract, courts will look at the document itself to determine the intent of the parties. A whole body of law exists surrounding the question of whether extrinsic evidence (parol evidence) from outside the contract can be received by the court in interpreting the contract. Also, some contracts might not be in writing at all. Again, centuries of contract law, statutes and court cases answer the question of when a contract may be oral or must be in writing, as well as whether the existence of a contract is implied by the conduct of the parties regardless of whether they expressly entered into an oral or written contract.
A contract is violated or breached when one party fails to perform an obligation it has under the contract. However, not every breach is necessarily “material.” Generally speaking, a “material breach” is one that goes to the heart of the contract or defeats its purpose. A material breach by one party can excuse the other party from its own obligations to perform. When one party breaches and the other party declines to perform, whether the breach was material can be a central focus of the litigation.
One party to a contract should not be expected to perform when it knows the other party will not perform. When one party indicates, either by words or action, that it does not plan on fulfilling its obligations under the contract, this repudiation or anticipatory breach can relieve the other party of its duty to perform, even if that party would otherwise be the first to perform its end of the bargain. A central issue in breach of contract cases involving an anticipatory breach is whether the alleged repudiation was express or unconditional and justified the other party’s nonperformance.
Damages for a Breach of Contract
Typically, a party harmed by a breach of contract can recover the actual damages or financial loss it has suffered. If the party suffered some special type of harm because of the breach, the party can recover those special or consequential damages as well.
If the nature of the contract is such that it would be difficult to determine the actual damages of a breach, the contract might include a liquidated damages provision, saying party A will pay party B x amount of dollars in liquidated damages in the event of a breach. Florida courts will uphold and enforce liquidated damages provisions if the court believes damages were truly hard to calculate and the amount of liquidated damages is reasonable.
If the subject matter of the contract is real property or a unique or special personal service, your Miami breach of contract lawyer may persuade the court to order specific performance as a remedy for the breach. In those cases, monetary damages are considered inadequate to make up for failure to complete the contract, so the court orders it be performed, such as by forcing the sale of property, for instance.
Options for Resolving Breach of Contract Claims
When you engage a Miami breach of contract lawyer at Edelboim Lieberman Revah, your lawyer won’t necessarily take your case to court immediately. In many cases, there will be more advantageous—and less costly—options available. As legal counsel for clients facing contract disputes, we examine all possible pathways toward a favorable resolution, including:
- Negotiation – Even when contracting parties are at odds, they will often share a common interest in finding an efficient resolution that allows them to move forward. When it is in our clients’ best interests to negotiate, we use all available leverage to work toward a favorable outcome, whether that involves preserving the contractual relationship or allowing it to terminate.
- Mediation – Many commercial contracts include mandatory mediation clauses. Even when mediation is not mandatory, it can serve as a cost-effective tool for resolving breach of contract disputes short of litigation. In mediation, the parties work with a neutral third party (a mediator) to target a mutually acceptable outcome. However, either party may choose to terminate the process at any time.
- Arbitration – Unlike mediation, arbitration results in a binding resolution issued by a third-party neutral (in this case, an arbitrator). Many commercial contracts include mandatory arbitration clauses as well, and, even absent a mandatory arbitration clause, adversarial commercial parties will often benefit from pursuing arbitration rather than going to court.
- Litigation – In some cases, litigation will be the best, if not the only, option. This could be the case if negotiations have broken down, if mediation has proven unsuccessful, or if one party needs to seek immediate relief in the courts. Whatever the case may be, if your company needs to take a contract dispute to court, it will need an experienced Miami breach of contract lawyer on its side.
Litigation involving breach of contract claims can arise under various other circumstances as well. For example, contracting parties may disagree over the enforceability of a mandatory arbitration or forum selection clause, or one party may need to go to court to enforce its arbitration award. At Edelboim Lieberman Revah, we handle all types of breach of contract litigation, and we work closely with our clients to pursue effective litigation strategies focused on achieving efficient and favorable results.
Additional Remedies for Breach of Contract
In addition to monetary damages and specific performance, various other remedies may be available in breach of contract litigation as well. In all cases, the key is to work with your company’s Miami breach of contract lawyer to thoroughly evaluate the options and pursue the best remedy (or remedies) available in light of the circumstances at hand. Some examples of additional remedies companies may need to pursue in breach of contract litigation include:
- Injunctive relief that prevents the counterparty from engaging in certain conduct (either on an emergency, temporary or permanent basis)
- Voiding of the parties’ contract based on fraudulent inducement or other grounds
- Voiding or enforcement of specific contract provisions, such as mandatory arbitration and forum selection clauses
- Payment of a party’s legal fees incurred in connection with the breach of contract litigation
Let a Miami Breach of Contract Lawyer from Our Firm Manage All Aspects of Litigation
If you are being sued for breach of contract or believe another party you are contracting with has violated the terms of the agreement or does not intend to uphold its end of the bargain, act now to protect your rights and interests. Reach out to the South Florida contract dispute lawyers at Edelboim Lieberman Revah in Miami or Fort Lauderdale by calling 305-768-9909.