What is breach of contract?
A contract is an agreement to do or not to do something. A breach of contract occurs when one of the parties does not honor the agreement, usually by not doing what he or she promised to do. The party whose contractual rights have not been honored may recover several types of remedies. The breaching party can be held responsible for damages, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees. Generally speaking, “damages” is the amount of money that is needed to put the aggrieved party in as good a position as he or she would have been if the contract had not been breached. These can be expectation damages as well as consequential damages. For example, if the aggrieved party was a property owner seeking damages for a contractor’s breach of a construction contract, the amount of damages might be the reasonable cost of completing the construction required by the contract. In some rarer situations, no amount of money may be enough to compensate the aggrieved party for the breach. In that case, the court may order the breaching party to perform the contract as agreed.
A contract need not be formal or in writing in order for it to be enforceable. For example, your correspondence with the other party, a check written between you and the other party, or a credit card transaction can be used to prove the existence of an agreement or contract. Even entirely oral contracts may be valid, allowing a lawsuit to be filed and a recovery to be had based on what the parties have said. An example of this is where the parties to a contract have a long-standing relationship, as might occur with a vendor or service provider.
What experience does your firm have with breach of contract?
We have many years of experience in negotiating and litigating contract disputes. Many times a simple letter to the other party or the other party’s lawyer, perhaps followed by some negotiations, will suffice to correct the situation. At other times, one must sue to recover.
A few of the many kinds of contract cases we have handled over the years are breach of partnership agreements, breach of construction contracts, breach of warranty cases, and breach of employment contracts. We have also assisted clients whose contract matter has been complicated by outright fraud or by the breach of a special relationship, such as with a trustee or other fiduciary.
We are especially knowledgeable about oil and gas contract disputes and insurance contract disputes. As to oil and gas litigation, we have successfully represented oil and gas drilling and service companies, surface owners, mineral owners, and royalty owners in a variety of settings against a number of different opponents in the oil and gas industry. In more than one instance we assisted by setting up and acting as general counsel and litigator for both oil and gas production and drilling companies. In another instance, we represented a number of surface owners in a case against the United States, which involved a gas pipeline rupture. We have also sued for fraud and RICO damages involving oil and gas industry contract disputes. We have litigated oil and gas issues in federal, state, and tribal courts, including the United States Court of Claims. Our experience working both for the oil and gas industry and for the individual has been invaluable in understanding and taking advantage of the technology challenges involved in oil and gas litigation. Generally we have represented Plaintiffs, but we have also represented Defendants, and we know how to maximize your interests.
Insurance contract disputes are another special branch of contract litigation. Our firm has experience and expertise in Annuities, Life Insurance, Casualty, Liability, ERISA, Homeowners, Health, Auto and Business Insurance. We have also litigated cases involving bad faith in the breach of insurance contracts. Our managing partner, Rick Dane Moore, worked in insurance sales and was licensed to sell a variety of insurance products for a number of years. This work-related experience and years of practice in insurance law will be an advantage to you. Knowing the insurance business inside and out helps us to win courtroom arguments. Winning cases is not just about knowing the insurance law, winning is about knowing the facts of the insurance business. Understanding and analyzing insurance policy declarations and terms is imperative in convincing a judge to follow our points in persuading him to take our side of the argument.
We represent business clients against other businesses, individuals against businesses, and individuals against individuals. We do not take all clients. We are selective about the kinds of clients we represent. If there is a clear case of wrongdoing on the part of a prospective client or some immoral, unethical, or illegal act involved, we will not likely agree to represent you. We also do not take frivolous cases. Sometimes we will need to research your case from a factual and legal viewpoint to determine whether your case has merit. In some contract defense cases, the wiser choice is to settle so that attorney’s fees do not become higher — recognizing that in contract cases, the losing party usually pays the winning party’s attorney’s fees.
What documents do I need to put together? And how can they help?
Anything that might help your attorney to understand your case is a starting point. This means every scrap of information about your case may be relevant, even if you might not think something is important. In the context of developing documentation and record keeping, more is better. It is our job as your lawyers to separate the wheat from the chaff. We will analyze your documents and records in order to organize a strong case with a believable and provable strategy that will help you win. Your own written narrative, explaining your case to us from your perspective, goes far in assisting us to build your case. Any notes, texts, e-mails, letters, or forms given to you or signed by you or the other party – even documents available on the other party’s web site or Facebook page — may be helpful in proving your case.
Is it always worth it to fight for breach of contract?
Before you make any decision to litigate, it is important that you evaluate the likelihood of recovery from the defendant. As the old saying goes, you can’t get blood out of a turnip.
Why should someone choose your firm?
We make you part of a tight-knit team with decades of collective experience. We give value and immediate feedback to you to allay your concerns. Suing another party for breach of contract is not something you should undertake lightly, but once started, you should proceed as vigorously as you can to recover your damages.