A failure by one side to honor the terms of an agreement can spell disaster for a business, and so breach of contract is one of the most common claims in business litigation. But once a business has proven the other side breached contract, what can it do? What remedies are available?
The exact remedies available vary from case to case, depending on the terms of the contract, the relevant laws and the facts. However, there are certain types of damages that act as guides.
In most civil lawsuits, the basic measure of damages is restitution. That is, the goal is to make the aggrieved party whole. For example, if the plaintiff paid the defendant $10,000 for widgets that the defendant failed to deliver, then a court may order the defendant to pay the plaintiff $10,000.
However, simple restitution may not be enough in a breach of contract case. In the example above, imagine the plaintiff had to go elsewhere for widgets in order to meet its obligations. Unable to find the widgets at the $10,000 price, it had to pay $15,000. In this case, a court may order the defendant to pay $15,000 in compensatory damages to the plaintiff.
Compensatory damages are the most common remedies in breach of contract cases, but there are other remedies as well. Monetary remedies can also include punitive damages, liquidated damages and more. There are also non-monetary damages, such as cancellation, in which the terms of the contract are cancelled, and specific performance, in which the defendant is ordered to perform the service or supply the goods as promised under the contract.
Running a business is complicated and takes a lot of a person’s time, energy and passion. It’s important for business owners and managers to get help from skilled business attorneys, so that they can give their businesses the full attention they need.