Queens Breach of Contract Lawyers
Over 50 Years of Experience Providing Honest, Personalized Representation
Contracts are legal documents that must be followed by all the parties who have signed them. The moment a party breaches their duty to the agreement, they can face legal repercussions. If someone has breached the contract they have signed with you, Chiariello & Chiariello can help you take legal action immediately to remedy the situation. The firm has over 50 years of experience providing honest and straightforward legal guidance to businesses and individuals throughout Queens, and they will take an individualized approach to strategize your civil contract case based on your unique circumstances. Rest assured that Chiariello & Chiariello can help you resolve your contract dispute effectively and efficiently.
Schedule a free initial consultation with Chiariello & Chiariello to get started today.
What Constitutes a Breach of Contract?
A contract is a legally enforceable document that is created through an offer by one party and accepted by the other. Both parties then exchange “consideration,” or something of value for each of their services. When one party fails to uphold their end of the contract, they may be liable for a breach of contract.
In order to sue for breach of contract, the plaintiff (the suing party) must prove the following elements:
- A valid contract existed between the plaintiff and the defendant.
- The plaintiff performed their contractual duties/obligations.
- The defendant failed to perform their contractual obligations.
- Damages resulted from the defendant failing to uphold their contractual obligations.
Types of Contract Breaches
Breaches of contract cases can proceed in different ways with varying consequences, depending on the type of breach. There are several types of contract breaches based on the degree to which the defendant breached their obligations:
- Minor breach/impartial breach – The defendant does not breach the whole contract but nonetheless fails to perform a certain part of the contract.
- Material breach/total breach – The defendant’s breach of contract affects the situation so seriously that the contract can no longer be fulfilled.
- Anticipatory breach/anticipatory repudiation – One party indicates to the other party that they will be unable to fulfill their contractual obligations.
In the case of a minor breach, the plaintiff should fulfill the rest of their contractual obligations and sue for damages. With a material breach, the plaintiff can stop performing their contractual obligations and sue for damages. Lastly, for anticipatory breaches, the plaintiff should do their best to avoid incurring additional costs or expenses after they’ve been informed of the other party’s failure to comply.
Plaintiffs can recover compensatory damages (“actual damages”) and consequential damages (“special damages”) in successful breach of contract cases. Compensatory damages are paid to the plaintiff to help put them back in the same position as they would have been if not for the breach of contract. Consequential damages are damages indirectly related to the breach, such as reimbursement for lost business opportunities due to the breach. Note that to obtain consequential damages, the plaintiff must prove that they were damaged either directly by the breach or the damages were reasonably foreseeable due to the breach.
In certain situations when a breach of contract did not cause real harm, the court may decide to award nominal damages to the plaintiff. Nominal damages are very small amounts and are meant to establish the plaintiff’s justification for their claims.
Some contracts also include a section on liquidated damages, which is an amount both parties agree in advance to pay in the event of a breach. If a contract specifies liquidated damages, the court will enforce these provisions.
In cases where money cannot adequately compensate the plaintiff for their losses, such as if the contractual obligation is difficult to value or requires performance of a specific obligation, the court may instead order “specific performance” or craft an "equitable" remedy. This requires the defendant to fulfill and perform the obligations of the contract they breached. In order to obtain damages in the form of specific performance in New York, the plaintiff must prove:
- There exists a valid contract.
- The defendant is ready, willing, and able to perform their obligations of the contract.
- The defendant has the ability to perform their contractual duties but failed to do so.
- There is no other remedy as adequate as specific performance.
Be aware that New York law requires a duty to mitigate damages. This means the plaintiff must take action to minimize their losses resulting from a breach, otherwise they may not be awarded damages because they did not attempt to avoid these damages when they reasonably could have.
If you are dealing with a breach of contract in Queens, do not hesitate to consult Chiariello & Chiariello for more information on your next steps in the legal process. The attorneys at the firm can help you strategize a plan for taking legal action and obtaining damages to remedy the breaching party’s shortcomings.
Schedule a free consultation with Chiariello & Chiariello to get started on your case.
Serving the Community for Over 50 YearsOur firm has helped Nassau county residents with their legal matters for more than five decades.
Honest Legal CounselAt Chiariello & Chiariello, we pride ourselves on integrity and providing clients with straightforward advice.
Family-Owned Law OfficeOur firm has been in the family for over 50 years and we look to treat all of our clients as part of our family.
Small Firm Attention, Big Firm ResultsOur attorneys pursue maximum compensation for our clients while providing them with highly personalized attention throughout the entire process.
If you are experiencing hardship in your life due to another’s negligence, working with a skilled and knowledgeable legal team can make all the difference in improving your situation — and helping you get your life back on track.
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