The Other Side Breached Your Agreement; Now What?
What Does “Breach of Contract” Mean?
Breach of contract is when one of the parties to a legally enforceable agreement fails to perform their obligations in the manner that was promised in the contract.
The Steps to Take after a Breach of Contract Has Occurred.
Have a Discussion.
The other party may not have intentionally breached the contract (such as when a deadline has inadvertently passed) or, may have a different interpretation of its obligations than you do. So, the first step is to attempt to discuss the matter with them. A simple discussion may resolve the issue or give you some insight into what the other side’s problem is. For example, your contract partner may be of the view that you have not lived up to your contractual obligations. Understanding the other side’s reasoning gives you information you did not have previously which may help resolve the matter or may be of potential strategic significance if you cannot amicably resolve things.
Analyze the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Case
From the very beginning, it is essential to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This should be done with legal counsel based on a review of both the facts and the law. This, in turn, requires providing your legal counsel with all relevant information and documents so that they can provide you with an honest assessment of your case. The more experienced and sophisticated your lawyer is, the better the evaluation you are likely to receive.
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations.
If a breach of contract has occurred, you have a limited amount of time to bring the matter to the courts. For example, if you do not file a breach of contract claim before the six-year statute of limitations has expired in New York, you will lose your ability to do so. It is best to consult with an experienced contract dispute attorney to understand how the applicable statute of limitations affects your case.
Send a Demand Letter
Before filing a legal action, it often makes sense to have your business litigation attorney send a Demand Letter, laying out the facts that support your claim, the potential legal consequences of non-payment, and a demand for payment. Receiving a formal Demand Letter from a business litigation lawyer makes it clear to the non-paying customer that you are serious about pursuing your right to be paid and, may result in either payment or the commencement of negotiations leading to payment.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In addition to filing a lawsuit in court, there are several alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration. Depending on the nature and size of the case, as well as various considerations such as confidentiality, length of time to obtain a decision, and legal fees and costs, alternative dispute resolution may make sense. Of course, commencing a court proceeding is often the best or sometimes the only option available. The experienced attorneys at Kravet & Vogel, LLP have deep experience and are knowledgeable about these issues and, can discuss with you which option makes the most sense.