Relying on others to uphold their contractual obligations is a fundamental aspect of every business. When a party to a contract fails to abide by their end of an agreement, it can result in significant financial losses.
The Business Trial Group’s Fort Lauderdale attorneys routinely handle breach of contract lawsuits and related business torts involving all types of agreements and industries. Due to our track record of trial success and considerable resources, we are often hired to take on complex, high-stakes contract lawsuits against large and wealthy opponents. And thanks to our contingency-fee model, individuals and businesses can afford high-quality representation, regardless of their legal budget.
If you were damaged by a contract breach, contact the Business Trial Group for a free case review.
Common Types of Contract Disputes We Handle
Common types of contract lawsuits in Ft. Lauderdale include:
- Contracts for goods and services
- Construction contracts
- Employment contracts and independent contractor agreements
- Franchise agreements
- Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements
- Purchase or sale of a business
- Purchase or sale of real estate
- Commercial leases
- Unpaid compensation, including salary, commission, and benefits
- Shareholder and partnership agreements
Nearly every contract is different and each contains specific provisions that must be closely examined when there is an alleged breach. As a result, it is important to discuss your breach of contract dispute with an experienced contract attorney to protect your legal rights.
Breach of Contract Remedies
When one party breaches a contract, the non-breaching party may sue for several different types of damages, including:
- Compensatory damages: Compensatory damages cover direct contractual losses (expectation damages). They also cover special damages (consequential damages), which are damages caused indirectly by a broken contract.
- Liquidated damages: Damages that are specifically stated in the contract are known as liquidated damages. They are often included in a contract to incentivize compliance.
- Restitution: Restitution forces the breaching party to forfeit their ill-gotten gains. The goal of restitution is to return the non-breaching party to the position they would have been in had the contract never been made.
- Specific performance: A decree ordering the breaching party to fulfill a contractual obligation.
- Contract recission: Both parties’ contractual obligations are canceled.
- Contract reformation: The original contract is rewritten to account for a mistaken understanding.
Elements of a Breach of Contract Lawsuit
If you file a breach of contract lawsuit, you must prove three elements to prevail: (1) the existence of a valid contract; (2) breach of the contract’s terms; and (3) damages resulting from the breach of contract.
Existence of a valid contract
An enforceable contract contains the following elements:
- Offer: At least one party must make a promise to do, or refrain from doing, a specific act in the future.
- Consideration: Contracts are based on a mutual exchange of value. Each party must give up something valuable, which is the “consideration,” to get something valuable in return.
- Acceptance: The contract does not become legally binding until each party accepts its terms. A method of acceptance (such as oral, written, handshake, in-person, or through the fulfillment of a certain act) is often specified in the contract’s offer.
Breach of the contract’s terms
A contract breach occurs when one party fails to do something that the contract requires. Breaches can be material or non-material. Material breaches are those that prevent the contract from being fulfilled or defeat its original intent. Non-material breaches are more minor breaches that don not necessarily preclude contract fulfillment.
Breach of contract damages
Even if there is a legally valid contract and a breach of the contract occurs, if the non-breaching party does not suffer any type of financial harm, then they may not have a valid breach of contract case. Damages might include lost revenue, income, or benefits, or be more indirect, such as damage to a company’s reputation. As part of your free case review, our Fort Lauderdale contract attorneys will explore all possible damages you may be able to recover.
Fort Lauderdale Business Tort Attorneys
Breach of contract lawsuits often also involve business torts. While a breach of contract claim arises strictly out of one party’s alleged failure to meet contractual obligations, business torts cover a broad range of misconduct and can arise independent of the contract terms.
Common examples of business torts our Fort Lauderdale attorneys handle include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty: A fiduciary duty may arise where a relation of trust and confidence exists between the parties. Fiduciary relationships may be contractual, statutory, or implied by law. A legal claim arises when a fiduciary duty is breached, which proximately causes damages to the non-breaching party.
- Civil conspiracy: A civil conspiracy occurs when: (a) two or more parties, (b) do an unlawful act or a lawful act by unlawful means, (c) that includes some overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy, and (d) damage results from the acts performed.
- Conversion or civil theft: Conversion or civil theft is the wrongful taking of the property of another. The difference is that civil theft requires “felonious intent” – i.e., the intent to steal. If a party is found liable for civil theft, they may be required to pay treble damages as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
- Defamation (libel or slander): False and damaging statements about a company or individual, whether written or oral, that cause financial losses can lead to a legal claim against the entity for defamation.
- Fraud or negligent misrepresentation: If you relied on a statement that turned out to be untrue, whether the statement was intentionally or inadvertently misleading, you may have a claim for a misrepresentation or fraud.
- Tortious interference: Tortious interference occurs when one party intentionally interferes with the contract or business relationship of another party and causes economic harm.
- Unfair and deceptive trade practices: A deceptive practice is one that is likely to mislead consumers. An unfair practice is one that offends established public policy and one that is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, or substantially injurious to consumers. A party bringing a claim under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) may seek damages, including attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.
Contingency Fee Breach of Contract Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
The Business Trial Group handles all contract and business tort disputes on a contingency-fee basis. That means our clients pay no up-front fees, and no fees at all unless we make a successful recovery in the case. If we do not recover damages, you pay nothing.
Contingency-fee business litigation is an invaluable tool in contract disputes because it allows the damaged party to pursue the full amount they are contractually owed, without fear of high hourly attorneys’ fees making litigation unsustainable. When both parties to a contract dispute are paying an attorney by the hour, the wealthier party can drive up costs and force their opponent into an unfairly low settlement. Contingency-fee contract litigation provides our clients with an affordable attorney so they can see their case through to the end.
Depending on the contract dispute, it also may be possible to shift attorneys’ fees to the other party. Importantly, even if your attorney is working on a contingency fee basis, you may still be able to recover your attorneys’ fees as if you were paying out-of-pocket.
Receive a Free Breach of Contract Case Review
If you have suffered damages due to a contract breach, our Fort Lauderdale attorneys can help you recover your losses. We regularly represent clients on a contingency-fee basis throughout Broward County, including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, Deerfield Beach, Weston, Margate, Coconut Creek, and Parkland.
To discuss your situation with the Business Trial Group at no cost, fill out our case evaluation form.