Breach of Contract Lawyer
In order to be successful in business, you must rely on other individuals and companies to adhere to their agreements. When another party fails to uphold its side of an agreement, a breach of contract occurs. Your company may suffer an interruption to the smooth flow of business, incur financial losses, or even experience damage to its reputation. When these unfortunate circumstances emerge, contacting a breach of contract lawyer is a strong first response.
What is a breach of contract?
In contract law, a breach of contract occurs when an individual or business fails to perform the obligations laid out in a valid contract. Often these disputes can lead to litigation, but an attorney with contract dispute experience can help you explore all available options.
What is a valid contract?
While most people think a contract is a signed legal document that dictates specific terms for two or more parties, the legal definition of a contract is broader. Under Texas law, for a contract to be valid, the parties must only show that: (1) parties involved are in agreement and (2) something of value was exchanged.
Although Texas has a long history of enforcing verbal agreements, the law does require some contracts be written in order to be valid, including:
- Contracts for the sale of real estate
- A lease for real estate for a term longer than one year
- Wills or trusts
- Sales of securities
Types of Contract Breaches
There are four main types of breaches of contract:
- Actual Breach of Contract
- Anticipatory Breach of Contract
- Immaterial Breach of Contract
- Material Breach of Contract
An actual breach of contract is when one party to a contract fails to perform what they agreed to, either entirely or partially, and caused the other party to incur damages due to their failure.
Anticipatory Breach of Contract
An anticipatory breach of contract occurs when one party to the agreement indicates that they will not be performing their contractual duties.
Material Breach of Contract
The most common reason business owners seek out breach of contract lawyers is for a material breach. In a material breach of contract, one party has completely failed to perform what was laid out in the contract or failed to meet their obligations in time. For instance, if you were to purchase a building and paid the seller, but the seller refused to hand over the deed, this could be considered a material breach of contract.
Immaterial Breach of Contract
Another common reason to seek out a breach of contract attorney is for an immaterial, minor, or a partial breach of contract. A partial breach is essentially a less severe breach of contract that does not cause the entire contract to fail; however, the breach did cause damage. For instance, if a supplier agreed to deliver commodities to you by a certain date and delivered the items late but not so late you could not still use or sell them, you would still be obligated to pay for the items. Importantly, however, this does not mean the immaterial breach did not cause damage, and you may still be able to file a claim for those damages.
Elements of a Breach of Contract Claim
When a breach of contract occurs, you need to take appropriate steps to recover the financial losses your company incurred. This means a breach of contract attorney will first need to prove there was an actual breach of contract. The elements of a breach of contract claim under Texas law are:
- the existence of a valid contract;
- performance or tendered performance by the plaintiff;
- breach of the contract by the defendant; and
- damages sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the breach.
First, the existence of a valid contract must be established as outlined above. Then, the “performance or tendered performance” must be proven, meaning that you paid or performed your portion of the contract. Next, the breach of the contract must be proven. Your breach of contract attorney must prove that the defendant did not perform their obligations under the terms of the contractual agreement and that this failure caused you and/or your company harm.
Breach of Contract Attorney
As you can see, the details of a breach of contract case can make for complex litigation. Contracts are ubiquitous in business and the variety of these contracts is also numerous, further complicating the matter. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hire a law firm with significant business law experience that is familiar with the intricacies of contract law and its applicability across differing industries, such as Adair Myers Stevenson Yagi.
The Houston business lawyers at Adair Myers Stevenson Yagi are courtroom litigators that recognize the fact that once the dispute is resolved, your company and the breaching party may want or need to continue normal business relations.
There are times when the harm that would result from a protracted legal battle is greater than the damage caused by a contractual breach. If your dispute can be settled with a letter, arbitration, or mediation, our attorneys can guide you. If litigation becomes necessary, we can make sure your best interests are protected.
Statute of Limitations for a Breach of Contract Claims
Under Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, there is a four-year statute of limitations for breach of contract claims. You must file your lawsuit within four years from the date the breach occurred. After the statute of limitations runs, you will have forfeited your right to file a breach of contract claim. While four years sounds like a long time, in reality a commercial litigation attorney needs time to obtain and review all applicable documents and determine an appropriate dispute resolution strategy. Don’t wait until evidence gets lost or otherwise disappears before consulting with experienced legal counsel.
Houston Breach of Contract Attorney
Whether you are bringing a breach of contract action or need help defending yourself or your company against an alleged breach, we can review the terms of your contract and determine the best strategy. Our business law attorneys have been protecting Texas business owners for over 40 years and have helped clients in nearly every industry in Texas. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.