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, money 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.
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.