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Breach of Contract 

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Breach of Contract in the Bay Area

When a breach of contract happens, there is essentially a “broken” contract. A breach occurs when one party to a contract fails to perform or refuses to act per the terms of the contract without a legal or justifiable reason.

What Are the Kinds of Breaches?

There are four ways that a breach of contract may be found:

  1. Material Breach of Contract: A material breach happens where a party to the contract ends up with something much different than what was contracted for. A material breach typically provides that the non-breaching party is not required to perform their end of the deal and has the right to seek a remedy from the other party.
  2. Minor Breach: A minor breach of contract happens when one party fails to perform some part of the agreement even though the particular item or service was delivered. For example, if a contractor contracted to finish a remodel on a certain day but the contractor finishes the project the day after, this would be deemed a minor breach.
  3. Anticipatory Breach of Contract: Anticipatory repudiation happens when one party declares, before their time to perform under the contract, that they do not plan to perform under the terms of the agreement.
  4. Actual Breach of Contract: An actual breach of contract happens when one individual fails to perform according to the terms of the deal. An actual breach may also be found where one party performs incompletely.

What Remedies Can I Pursue?

You can typically seek two remedies for a breach of contract: damages and equitable remedies. Damages are financial awards. Damages generally cannot be speculative. Equitable remedies are awarded when an economic award or damages would be inadequate to remedy the plaintiff.

Compensatory Damages are damages for a financial amount that repays the non-breaching party for the breach. Their purpose is to make the non-breaching or injured person “whole.” 

There are three types of compensatory damages:

  • Expectation Damages: Expectation damages are damages that cover what the non-breaching party would have gotten had the contract been fully completed. These may be based on the agreement or market values.
  • Consequential Damages: Consequential damages repay the non-breaching party for indirect damages of the breach. 
  • Liquidated Damages: Damages outlined in the contract due to failure to carry out the terms of the contract. Liquidated damages are included in a contract if damages would be too challenging to quantify in the case of a breach. Courts will not give liquidated damages if the amount is inappropriate, as it may be seen as punishment for the breach.

Punitive damages are damages meant to penalize the breaching party. Punitive damages are not given in contract cases.

Nominal damages are given when the injured party does not incur a financial loss. These damages are typically awarded for showing that the court agrees that the non-breaching party was the “winner” of the case.

Contact Us to Handle a Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Contract violations can be very complicated. It is critical to seek the legal counsel of an experienced contracts lawyer from Olivier & Schreiber LLP who can help you manage the difficult road ahead. Contact us for advice on your rights and allow us to represent you in court if a lawsuit must be filed.

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