Over the past 15 years, Mike has become known around town as a good, honest, reliable, and reasonably priced residential painter. In fact, there are not many homes in his immediate area that he has not touched up, and his Google reviews have been going through the roof. That is why it was so shocking that on one particular weekend, a run-of-the-mill job turned out to be anything but, and Mike found himself in his first disagreement with a customer who claimed he was in breach of contract.
Mike would never do anything to upset a customer or avoid following through on what he promised, and in any normal situation, he would bend over backward to make everything right again. But this time, he respectfully felt that he was 100% in the right.
In his mind, he provided the service they agreed to, and the customer paid him. It was as simple as that, right?
Well, that all depends. Anytime two or more parties enter into a legally binding agreement, whether oral or written, the participants who made the agreement are bound by the terms and conditions of that contract. And sometimes, your idea of what is considered completed work may not be the same as what the other person thinks. This is why it is important to be as detailed as possible in your agreement and put everything in writing so that specifics are not forgotten or remembered differently later.
Otherwise, you could unintentionally be sued for breach of contract.
What Actions Count as Breach of Contract?
When two parties enter into an agreement, the reason is usually to create legal obligations for each party so that everyone is on the same page, everyone’s obligations are well defined, and the terms of the agreement play out according to plan. When this does not happen, a party can claim that the other is in breach of contract.
A breach of contract usually occurs when:
- One party fails to perform what they agreed upon
- One party takes an action that renders the other incapable of fulfilling their duties
- One party openly declares that they will not follow the agreement any further
So What About Mike’s Situation?
Intentionally or unintentionally breaching a contract is never a good thing — even if you are like Mike and think you are 100% in the right. As a result, this can lead to you being sued or having to pay monetary damages to the offended party. But the law is not one-sided. Just because someone says you have breached a contract does not mean they are correct.
There are many examples, where a defendant in a breach-of-contract case has a legitimate defense for what happened. A few common examples include:
- Repudiation. The defendant can assert that, because of a disagreement with the contract, the plaintiff in the case showed clear intent to abandon, renounce, and refuse to perform their own obligations outlined in the contract.
- Revocation. The accused party may be able to prove that they revoked the contract before the plaintiff accepted the terms.
- Illegality, Fraud, or impracticability. The defendant can prove the terms are illegal, fraudulent, impractical, or impossible.
- Duress. The defendant was coerced into signing the contract against their will.
- Modification. The original contract was altered in some way, and the defendant was only performing duties or obligations associated with the amended contract.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
The bottom line is that not all breach of contract cases are cut and dried. Therefore, it is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Nelson Law Group, PC brings two decades of experience to each case we handle. We work with people who have been sued as well as people who are pursuing claims. This means we know how to look at all perspectives in your case. We will devise a comprehensive strategy. This is based on our years of experience, intuitive legal skill, and the desired outcome of your case. Give our knowledgeable staff a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.