Contracts are a daily part of running a business. After a while, one might view contracts as a mere formality, but taking these agreements too lightly could make you end up in court. It would be helpful to be familiar with acts of breach of contract so that you can avoid violating an agreement and so that you know when you might be able to take action against the other party.
A Miami, Florida business attorney can talk to you and evaluate your situation. Often, there are more practical options than litigation. If you do have to enforce a contract or defend yourself from claims of breach, we can advocate on your behalf.
What is a Breach of Contract?
You cannot have a breach of contract unless you have a legally binding agreement. Depending on the circumstances, an oral agreement can be an enforceable contract. Also, a written agreement must meet the legal requirements for the subject matter before the document is enforceable.
After clearing the first hurdle of having an enforceable oral or written contract, there is one more element required to be a breach of contract. One or more of the parties must have failed to deliver obligations required by the terms of the agreement.
Are There Different Kinds of Breaches?
Yes, there are several different types of acts that can be a breach of contract. These breaches fall into two categories, based on severity and timing.
If the failure to perform was significant, it could be a material breach of contract. Let’s say that you offer to buy some equipment for an agreed-upon price. You pay the money, and the dealer refuses to deliver the equipment, demanding a higher price. The dealer has breached the contract. This situation is a material breach of contract.
A minor breach of contract involves an insignificant or immaterial failing that did not cause financial consequences. For example, if you told the dealer that you expected to pick up the equipment at 3:00 pm and you got there 5 minutes after three, you might technically be in breach. If time was not of the essence and there was no hardship to the dealer because of the passage of five minutes, the minor breach would be unlikely to justify canceling the contract.
If it is not yet time for performance of a duty under the contract and a party announces that they will not fulfill their obligations under the agreement, this can be an anticipatory breach. On the other hand, if the breach has already happened, the situation is an actual breach, not anticipatory.
Common Acts That Can Be a Breach of Contract
In the business world, some of the more common acts that can constitute a breach of contract include:
- Violating a covenant not to compete in an employment contract
- Failure to deliver goods
- Failure to provide services
- Late payments under a rental or lease agreement
These are but a few examples of the many possible acts of breach of contract. You might want to talk with a Miami, Florida business attorney in your potential breach of contract situation. Get in touch with our office for a free consultation.