Contract Disputes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
When entering into a business contract, two or more parties agree on a set of terms by which they will conduct aspects of their business. These agreements are designed to be mutually beneficial and prevent one party from harming another through their actions or inactions. Unfortunately, there are several issues that can develop around a business contract, both before and after it goes into effect. Business contracts are used in a variety of situations and can include many types of stipulations, such as:
- Goods or services to be provided
- Payment terms
- Deadlines for certain activities
- The amount of time that the agreement is in effect
Types of Contract Disputes
The process of forming a business contract is complex, as both parties are bringing their own interests, goals, and limitations to the table. A contract dispute can arise at several points during this process, including:
- Offer and negotiation
- Drafting and review of the contract, including defining the terms used
- Errors in the terms of the contract
- Fraud or coercion, if one party did not knowingly or willfully enter into the contract as written
- Breach of contract
Breach of Contract
Breach of contract is a common type of contract dispute, which occurs when one party fails to uphold their end of the agreement. For example, this could occur if a contractor fails to deliver a project on time or the finished product does not meet the agreed-upon specifications. The severity of the breach depends on the circumstances and the impact it has on the parties involved.
A material breach occurs when one party neglects their responsibility under the contract, rendering the agreement irreparable. The breaching party’s actions or inactions contradict the fundamental purpose of the contract, and thus it cannot be fulfilled. The non-breaching party is no longer obligated to fulfill their part of the contract and can sue the breaching party for damages.
A minor breach, or immaterial breach, occurs when a party fulfills some, but not all outlined terms. In these cases, both parties are still bound by the contract, but the non-breaching party can seek legal remedy if they have suffered a loss as a result of the breaching party’s actions.
There are a few types of remedies that are available in cases of breach of contract:
- Cancellation and restitution: The contract is voided and both parties are restored to the state they were in before the agreement, including returning any payment or benefit already given.
- Specific performance: The breaching party is ordered by the court to perform the duties that they originally agreed to.
- Damages: The non-breaching party receives monetary compensation for losses sustained as a result of the breach and may also include punitive damages.
Validity of a Contract
To understand your legal options in a dispute, you must first understand whether your contract was enforceable. A binding business contract follows a specific formula; one party makes another an offer, the other party accepts the offer, and the parties agree upon consideration, or compensation for goods or services exchanged. It is not always necessary for the contract to be formally executed. An oral contract or one reached via email or text may be enforceable, but only if there is an agreement between the two parties.
It cannot be assumed that a contract exists unless both parties have had a chance to review and discuss the terms and there is clear acceptance from each. For example, if one party sends a request via email and the other does not respond to confirm, the second party cannot be held in breach of contract for failing to fulfill the request. Similarly, both parties must have some responsibility to the other for a contract to exist. A unilateral contract, in which only one party has any kind of deliverable, is not enforceable.
Contract Dispute Lawyers at Harty Law Group Provide Comprehensive Representation to Businesses Involved in Disputes
If you are involved in a contract dispute, the knowledgeable and skilled business attorneys at Harty Law Group are here to help. We have successfully represented clients in all types of contract disputes, and we are committed to achieving the best outcome possible, whether through negotiation, arbitration, or litigation. Our team has the knowledge and resources to tailor a legal strategy to your business. We use the latest technology to give our clients the edge they need. Located in the Old City District of Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we are proud to represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 267-262-5650 or contact us online to discuss your case.