When To Sue For Breach Of Contract
In business, we may find ourselves dealing with a client or vendor that doesn’t live up to their part of the contract. When that happens, you may be unsure whether to try to work out your concerns directly or sue for breach of contract. If at all possible, it is always recommended to take every step you can to work with your client or vendor and come to a mutually-agreeable resolution. However, when that fails, it’s time to speak to an attorney and consider suing.
Reasons for a breach of contract lawsuit
In the United States, there are very specific reasons that the court considers a breach of contract. Your attorney will go over these with you in detail and work to determine if one of these reasons has occurred. The primary reasons for a court to hear a breach of contract case are:
- Failing to perform as promised
- Making it impossible for the other party to perform as promised
- Making it known there is an intention not to perform
In addition, there are specific circumstances that must be present. First, the contract must be in writing. Most states rule under a law called “The Statute of Frauds” that specifies which types of contracts must be in writing to be enforceable. In many of the states, these include:
- Sales of real property
- Promises to pay someone else’s debt
- A contract that takes longer than one year to complete
- Property leases for more than one year
- Contracts worth a specific amount of money set by the state
- A contract that will surpass beyond the lifetime of the one performing the contract
- The transfer of property upon the death of the party performing the contract
As well, you must sue within the statute of limitations. These deadlines vary depending on the circumstance of the case, type of case, the state the suit is being filed in, and whether it is a state or federal court.
Which court can handle my case?
Small claims court is an option. Processing here allows for you to represent yourself. However, there are monetary limits by state that you can file suit for. In small claims court, the judge will decide the case, and the appeals process is very limited.
If you find that your suit requires filing in a civil court, a jury will be appointed to hear the case and render a decision. Also, keep in mind that a civil court case is far more expensive than small claims court.
It’s never easy when you get to the point that you are considering suing for breach of contract. If you can’t come to a mutually-agreed resolution, speak to an attorney. Often times, they will attempt to resolve the matter on your behalf before filing a suit. If you find yourself in this situation, Roger Davidheiser, can help. Contact him today for a consultation.