Do You Have a Case? Breach of Contract


Among the many calls I receive weekly are calls regarding contract issues.  It appears the days of “word is bond” are long gone and even when an agreement is in writing one party may be disappointed.  Here are key questions to ask when considering if you have a case (or defense) regarding a potential breach of contract claim:

Does the contract have sufficient detail?  Ex:  description of goods or services to be provided; statement of price and payment terms (frequency of payment, number of payments); explanation and/or calculation of fees, interest, and other charges; date by which a party is to perform contractual obligation(s)….

Is the contract in writing and signed by the opposing partyCertain contracts must be in writing to be enforced. 

Have you complied with all preconditions and obligations under the contract?

Have you lost or significant property due to the acts or omissions of opposing partyRead and consider....

Is the contract actually legal or permitted?  Ex:  You are leasing an apartment and the lease requires the landlord’s written permission for a sublease…you sublease the apartment to a friend and the friend bails out on you……you claim a breach of contract by the friend to whom you sublet the apartment..did you get the landlord’s written OK for your sublease?  If not you may be stuck and, to add insult to injury, the landlord may have grounds to seek your eviction….yikes!

Does the opposing party have a valid reason or defense to her breach?  Impossibility, impracticability, act of God, unconscionability of term(s), etc.

Are you still within the applicable statute of limitations?  Generally speaking, in North Carolina breach of contract claims must be filed within three years from the date of the breach but seek legal consultation to see if this applies in your case.

Are your damages significant enough to warrant hiring an attorney?  In North Carolina, Small Claims Court a/k/a Magistrate’s Court is for cases in which the amount of damages is no greater than $5,000.00.  In such cases it is quite common that parties represent themselves.  If you think this is the route for you be sure to review the online guide to Small Claims Court in North Carolina.  However if your case involves larger amounts of money, multiple parties, complicated or unusual issues you are best advised consulting an attorney before proceeding pro se.

Are you filing a lawsuit for a significant amount of money need guidance and legal representation to protect your interests?

NOTE:  If you are a business, small or large, and face a lawsuit you should check all available insurance policies to determine if you have coverage.  If so your insurance company could cover the cost of legal representation and payment of a settlement or judgment. 

 

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