In our business litigation practice, we routinely represent businesses that are facing litigation as a result of a breach of contract. There are various types of contracts that can lead to a breach of contract claim, and the need for a business to file a claim or to defend against one. The University of New Mexico provides detailed information about breach of contract cases in the state, and we want to discuss some of the key things you should know. If you are facing legal issues pertaining to a breach of contract, it is important to seek advice from a Santa Fe business litigation lawyer who can assist you.
Breach of Contract Means Failing to Perform One or More of the Elements of a Contract
What is a breach of contract? A breach of contract simply means a failure to perform one or more of the elements of a contract. In short, then, a breach of contract claim involves one or more parties to the contract alleging that the terms of the contract were not met.
Court Will First Determine Whether a Valid Contract Existed
When a breach of contract claim comes before a court, before a court will consider whether a breach of contract has occurred, the court will first need to determine whether a valid contract actually existed. For example, even if you entered into a written contract with another party and you both signed the contract, those facts alone do not automatically mean the contract was valid. Sometimes contracts are unenforceable because they are unconscionable or go against public policy. In other scenarios, the written contract may not contain a necessary element that would make the contract valid and enforceable. Breach of contract claims can become even more complicated when the parties have an oral contract as opposed to a written one.
Court Will Then Determine What the Contract Required of the Parties
If the court determines there was a valid contract between the parties, then it will need to determine what the contract actually required each of the parties to do, and whether the contract was ever modified such that a breach may not have actually occurred. Once the court determines the elements of the contract, then it will determine whether there was a breach of contract.
Minor and Materials Breaches of Contract are Handled Differently
It is important to know that a court treats minor and material breaches of contract differently. In general, a material breach of contract is another term for a major breach of contract, and it usually involves a situation in which the other party did not get what was expected based on the terms of the contract. Courts in New Mexico will consider a wide variety of factors when determining whether a breach of contract is a minor breach or a material breach. While both may result in remedies for the party who experienced losses as a result of the breach, the remedies are greater in a material breach of contract claim.
Seek Advice from a Santa Fe Business Litigation Lawyer
Do you have questions about filing or defending against a breach of contract claim involving your company? One of our Santa Fe business litigation attorneys can assist you. Contact Slate Stern Law today to learn more about our business litigation services in New Mexico.