Have you ever entered into a contract? Of course you have. People encounter contracts everyday on a daily basis. Whether you are buying an apple at the store, getting treatment from a doctor, borrowing a book from the library, or signing up for a new cell phone, you are constantly entering into contracts with other individuals or entities. Businesses are constantly entering into contracts with their employees, with their customers, and with outside vendors.
A contract is an agreement by two or more parties via an oral or written agreement, containing at least one promise in exchange for another, and recognized in law as enforceable. Under California law, a contract generally requires offer, acceptance, and consideration.
Because of the large numbers of contracts we enter into, breaches of contract are inevitable. In California, breach of contract requires 1) existence of a contract, 2) plaintiffs performance or excuse from non-performance, 3) defendants breach, and 4) damages to plaintiff. In addition, if the defendants duty to perform under the contract is conditioned on the happening of an event, then plaintiff must also prove that the event transpired.
Often, breaches of contract occur when one party fails to pay. Other times, people refuse to pay because the other party failed to provide the goods or services agreed upon in the manner requested, leading to contractual disputes. Courts consider the wrongful, unjustified, and unexcused failure to perform a contract to be a breach. When performance is due, anything short of full agreed upon performance may be considered a breach.
The law allows for legal and equitable remedies for breaches of contract. If you believe a breach of contract has occurred, contact an attorney for more information to understand your possible remedies going forward.