Understanding Contracts and Breaches of Contract
Contract law can be abstract. There is no “magic lingo” that makes a contract litigation-proof. You must keep in consideration several things if you are sued or want to sue someone for a breach of contract.
The Contract Must Be Valid
To have a valid contract in Texas, you must satisfy the following elements:
1. An offer;
3. Meeting of the minds;
4. Communication that each party consented to the terms;
5. Execution and delivery.
You may look at these and wonder why your attorney did not inform you about these required elements. Or maybe you drafted the contract yourself, you may not have a legal background, and were completely unaware of these required elements.
The question now presents itself: can you still defend yourself? Can you still bring an action? The answer is—it depends.
Each contract and factual circumstances are different, and would require someone of legal expertise to review the terms. Here at Mian & Masoom Law Firm, our managing partner, Melissa Masoom, has vast experience both defending and prosecuting breach of contract cases. If you schedule a consultation with our office, we can determine whether a valid contract exists.
What Constitutes a “Breach?”
Our next step is to prove whether there was a breach. In order to prevail on a breach of contract claim the required elements are as follows:
1. Existence of a valid contract;
2. Plaintiff (the prosecuting party) performed or tendered performance;
3. Defendant (the defense, or party being sued) breached the contract;
4. Plaintiff was damaged due to Defendant’s breach.
What Relief Are You Entitled To?
If we are able to prove the above elements by a preponderance of the evidence in a court of law, the next question is whether you have damages.
A prevailing plaintiff in a breach of contract claim may be eligible to receive damages such as attorney’s fees, liquidated damages, loss of use, compensatory damages, etc. Also, a prevailing plaintiff that receives a judgment against a defendant may be able to seek a writ to obtain the defendant’s property or money in order to satisfy a judgment.
What Are Your Defenses?
If you’re the one who breached the contract, what claims can you raise to protect yourself and your assets? Some of the most common ones are listed below:
1. The contract was not valid to begin with.
2. It has become impossible to perform on the contract.
3. The party claiming breach has accepted a lower amount as satisfaction of the contract.
4. The party claiming breach has waived its right to enforce the contract.
5. The party claiming breach actually breached first.
However, to determine what your best defenses are, you will need to talk to an attorney about your specific circumstances.
Here, at Mian & Masoom, we are here to counsel and defend you against these types of actions. In order to further assist a party being sued, please contact our office so that we can arrange a complimentary consultation to investigate the underlying circumstances.
This article was prepared for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.