Do you believe a person or business isn’t holding up their end of an agreement? A breach of contract happens when one party fails to perform all or part of a valid contract without a legal excuse. If it’s true the other party hasn’t performed, then you might be entitled to compensation or other remedies.
But before determining whether there was a significant breach, you must examine whether you have a valid and enforceable contract and whether the other party has justification. That’s why it’s essential to work with a breach of contract lawyer as soon as possible. At Kemmy Law Firm, we will analyze the validity of your contract and thoroughly prepare for the other party’s defenses. Contact us online or call (21) 735-2233 to set up a confidential consultation.
Certain factors make an agreement legally binding. Without those factors, you might not have a strong claim for compensation.
A contract must include:
Each party’s promise to do something in exchange for something else is a consideration. Each party, whether it’s two or more people or businesses, has to provide or give up something as part of the exchange. It might be money, an interest in something valuable, or a right to do something. Whether or not there was consideration can be a tough question for the courts.
None of the parties can agree to do something illegal. If a party’s promise under the contract violates the law or public policy, then a court won’t enforce it.
Other necessary elements of a contract involve the legal capacity and competence to enter into a binding agreement. Individuals who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent can’t create an enforceable contract.
Contracts are either valid, void, or voidable. Your breach of contract lawyer will review the circumstances to see if there’s any basis for the other party claiming the agreement is void or voidable. If a court agrees the contract is void, you can’t enforce it. If the court says the contract is voidable, then the other party can choose to cancel it.
A void contract was never valid. Even at the beginning, the agreement wasn’t enforceable. It has no effect on the parties, no one’s bound to uphold it, and neither party can enforce it through legal action.
An agreement is void if it was:
A voidable contract is not the same as a void contract. A voidable contract was valid at the beginning. But because of a problem with the agreement, it’s only binding to one party. The other parties involved can choose not to follow through with their end of the agreement or enforce it.
Common reasons a court finds a contract is voidable is if it involved:
Yes, a minor can enter into a contract. But in both New Mexico and Texas, contracts that were signed when a party was a minor are voidable. That means you’re bound to perform the contract, but the teen can cancel it.
The truth is that it depends. Whether or not your contract needs to be in writing is usually based on the type of agreement and state law.
Texas and New Mexico courts accept oral contracts in some circumstances. But there’s something known as the Statute of Frauds, which requires certain contracts to be in writing for a court to enforce them. Texas enacted a Statute of Frauds, while New Mexico has given these rules effect through judicial decisions.
In general, contracts that need to be in writing include:
If you have an oral agreement that the law requires to be in writing, then it might not be enforceable in court.
One of the most common ways people and businesses violate contracts is by failing to deliver goods or services or pay on time. Even a brief delay in performing the agreement can cause someone significant financial trouble. A person or business that isn’t paid on time might experience cash flow trouble and go into debt or accrue interest on their bills. In these cases, it’s best to talk with a contract lawyer about how to hold the other party responsible for the delay.
All too often, a party fully or partially pays for a service upfront and then never receives the service. Or, the service provider gets started and never comes back to finish. You might have had to pay for someone else to complete the work. This is a financial cost related to the breach. Call today and let us help you recoup that expense.
A nightmare for a business is to receive a delivery of products that don’t match what they ordered. When the products you received aren’t what you paid for, and can’t be substituted for what you need, you have a claim for breach of contract.
A party can’t intentionally interfere with an existing contract and cause one or more of the parties to suffer financial losses. In New Mexico or Texas, if you can prove someone knowingly and intentionally got involved in your contractual relationship with another party without justification and caused you economic harm, then you might receive damages.
Did a previous employee or colleague poach your customers or clients? Both Texas and New Mexico courts will uphold most reasonable non-compete agreements or provisions in employment contracts. Each state has different guidelines on what makes a non-compete reasonable or not. New Mexico also protects certain types of professions from these contracts, like healthcare workers.
Non-disclosure agreements protect intellectual property, trade secrets, and other confidential information. Call us if a previous employee disclosed confidential and important information to the public or a competitor. Texas and New Mexico courts enforce non-disclosure agreements. But there are limitations. New Mexico law limits non-disclosure agreements in sexual misconduct situations. Employers in New Mexico also can’t require a sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation settlement to include an NDA.
Oil, gas, and mineral rights are valuable in Texas and New Mexico. If another party violated your lease or sales agreement or hasn’t paid your royalties, call us immediately. At Kemmy Law Firm, we are authorities in this area of law and handle these disputes regularly. Our team is skilled in evaluating these agreements, determining each parties’ rights and responsibilities, and identifying a breach of contract.
In a breach of contract case, you can ask for compensatory damages. These include general or actual damages, which are the costs that directly arise from the breach. They also might include special or consequential damages, which are losses you sustained because of special circumstances the other party knew about at the time you entered into the agreement. To recover both types of compensation, you have to prove they were foreseeable and caused by the breach.
If you suffered more than actual damages because of a breach of contract, talk with a breach of contract attorney right away. In Texas, you have to ask for consequential damages upfront and give the defendant notice that you want compensation for more than general damages.
Another possible remedy in a breach of contract claim is asking the court to require the other party to do something. You can ask the court to require the other party to complete their part of the contract. Or, you can ask the court to require the party to refrain from doing something. There’s a significant limit to this, though. A court won’t require another party to provide a personal service.
Whether the other party’s breach was minor or material is important because it impacts how the law requires you to behave and your potential damages.
A minor or non-material breach happens when a party doesn’t complete a small part of the contract. Generally, the parties can still move forward with the agreement and achieve the results they wanted. But a material breach of contract gives you an outcome that’s substantially different than what you bargained for. The other party didn’t fulfill a big, important part of the contract. In most cases, the breach is so significant, you can’t complete your part of the deal, or it defeats the point.
After an immaterial breach of the contract, the agreement is still valid. A court can still enforce it and require you to complete your end of the bargain. But if the court finds the breach was material, then it might cancel the contract and say you don’t have to perform your other duties under the agreement.
Whether or not you should file a breach of contract lawsuit depends on several factors. It’s important to talk with a breach of contract attorney first. To begin with, you want to be confident you have a valid contract. You want to know the likelihood of a jury deciding there was a breach, and if so, whether it was minor or material. You’ll also always want to consider the other party’s possible defenses.
In many circumstances, it’s prudent to consider mediation or arbitration first. These alternative dispute resolution methods might help you fix the problem faster and cheaper than going to court. But if you have a strong case and the other party isn’t amenable to mediation or arbitration, talk with a lawyer about filing.
Also, talk with an attorney about the value of your damages. Texas and New Mexico’s small claims court limits are $10,000. If your damages are worth less than $10,000, you can take advantage of the small claims court process. It’s a less formal process, and you don’t need a lawyer to navigate formal legal procedures and court rules. But when your damages are worth more than $10,000, you’ll need to go through the full, formal litigation process to prove your claim and win compensation.
Each state has a statute of limitations on breach of contract claims. You have four years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit in Texas. You have six years for written contracts and four years for oral agreements in New Mexico. Always talk with an attorney about how long you have to file a lawsuit and when the clock starts running.
When you file a breach of contract action against a person or business, they’ll likely come back with a reason for why they didn’t fulfill the agreement. You need to be prepared.
Common defenses include:
Breach of contract claims are complicated and can become contentious. What might appear to be an open-and-shut case might have deeper issues, including whether there was sufficient consideration to make a valid contract or whether a breach was material. Let an experienced contract lawyer with the Kemmy Law Firm analyze your claim and guide you in rectifying the situation.
Get a free consultation. We do not charge up-front fees, and you owe nothing unless you recover compensation.
When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.