Contracts are an important part of doing business, providing reassurance that transactions will be carried out a certain way. In an ideal world, business contracts would be created, carried out, and completed to the benefit of both sides involved. But in the real world of business, financial problems can inhibit agreements, as can delays, unexpected events, and other problems. When a contract is not carried out, one party can end up filing a breach of contract case in order to seek legal remedies. Such matters can be complex, and a breach of contract attorney will be an invaluable asset.
If you have become involved in a breach of contract situation, the Birk Law Firm can help to ensure that you’re fairly represented and that your side of the story will be both convincing and clear. If you’ve had to pay the price for someone else’s failure to uphold an agreement, we want to help.
Why Choose Our Attorney for Breach of Contract in Missouri?
There are many attorneys in Missouri, and you should find one that you trust who also has the skills and resources to get the results you need. As a business and tax law attorney as well as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Kelvin Birk offers unique perspectives and services to clients. Here are a few good reasons why we believe you should choose our firm:
- We are experienced. Attorney Kelvin Birk has 50 years of combined experience in accounting and the law – particularly business law and tax law, and he knows how to construct, examine and review contracts.
- We are client-driven. Our business is to make your life easier, with less stress and more financial freedom. We have many satisfied clients who often testify to the quality of our services.
- We get results. We are creative and use extensive experience in law and accounting to provide the best services that maximize chances for positive outcomes.
- We have built a network of people and resources that complement our legal and accounting services.
- We know how to negotiate. If you are faced with a contract dispute, you need a good negotiator who can work to resolve issues before going to court. However, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.
- We offer free, no-obligation initial consultations to discuss your contract situation and determine the best way to handle it.
How Our Fraud and Breach of Contract Attorney Can Help
When trying to resolve contract disputes, timing is critical, as delays can create problems that are devastating to a business. When you have Birk Law Firm on your side, we start working for you immediately. Depending on the situation, we will:
- Meet with you to examine the contract in question to understand the terms, conditions, obligations, and rights of all parties and the issues involved.
- Assess the legality and enforceability of the contract and identify any potential breaches from either side.
- Write a demand letter. If a breach of contract has occurred, we can draft a formal demand letter to the other party outlining the alleged breach and seeking resolution. If you have been charged with breach of contract, we can write a document refuting the charges.
- Negotiate with the other party to resolve issues or represent you during mediation, a collaborative process where a neutral third party helps the parties communicate and find a mutually acceptable solution. These techniques can often make going to court unnecessary.
- File a lawsuit on your behalf if negotiations break down, preparing all legal documents, gathering evidence such as documents, correspondence, and witness statements, and representing you in court.
- Utilize alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or private judging if appropriate to resolve disputes, as opposed to traditional litigation.
- Enforce judgments in your favor by pursuing the collection of damages or other remedies granted by the court.
What Does Breach of Contract in Missouri Involve?
Essentials to Filing a Breach of Contract Lawsuit
Obligations under a business contract are required to be fulfilled by both parties who enter into an agreement. If a party fails to fulfill these contractual obligations, it is considered a breach of contract. A breach of contract can occur if a party fails to perform or deliver on time, does not perform in accordance with an agreement’s terms, or outright fails to perform.
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) in Missouri governs breach of contract, which common law and various statutes also influence. Not every soured business relationship or failed customer–client arrangement will qualify as breach of contract in Missouri. For a breach of contract lawsuit to take place, there are several requirements that must be met, including:
- A contract and terms are in existence.
- A breach of contract has occurred on the part of the defendant.
- The plaintiff performed in accordance with the contract.
- The plaintiff has suffered damages.
An important first question involving any breach of contract in Missouri asks whether the contract was validly formed. A valid contract contains both an offer and an acceptance. Many breach of contract cases question whether the offer or the acceptance was sufficient to form a binding contract.
Determine whether it is a Material Breach or a Minor Breach
There are both material and minor breaches of contract. A material breach of contract is a major breach of the agreed terms that is serious enough to make it difficult or impossible to achieve a satisfactory result. A breach resulting from negligent or harmful behavior is typically considered a material breach.
A minor breach of contract occurs when a party performs most of the terms of the contract but fails to perform a minor term of the contract that does not significantly affect the other contract terms. It usually does not prevent the completion of the contract with a satisfactory result. For example, if a supplier delivers its shipment late, but the tardiness does not significantly affect the recipient, there would be no material breach of contract.
Ask Essential Questions
During a breach of contract lawsuit, there are several key questions that every breach of contract attorney, as well as defendant and plaintiff, should ask. The following questions are asked to help determine the merit of a case and the extent and scope of the alleged contract breach:
- Was a contract established?
- Was the contract subject to modification at any point?
- What were the requirements of each party involved with the contract?
- Did a breach of contract take place?
- If a breach occurred, was it directly related to the contract and its outcome?
- What damages, if any, were caused by the breach of contract?
- Does the breaching party have a legal defense and reason for which the contract was breached?
What Are Legal Remedies for Breach of Contract?
When a party breaches a contract and fails to uphold an agreement, the other party may be entitled to relief. In legal terms, this relief, or “remedies,” refers to the damages that an affected party can collect as follows:Monetary Damages
Payment of damages is the most common remedy for breach of contract cases and can include:
- Compensatory damages – These damages seek to correct the situation by returning the non-breaching party to a similar position had the breach not occurred.
- Punitive damages – In the case of particularly wrongful acts, punitive damages are meant to punish the breaching party. These damages, while rarely awarded, must be paid on top of compensatory damages.
- Nominal damages – These damages may be awarded if a breach of contract has occurred but neither party suffered harm and the non-breaching party did not lose money.
- Liquidated damages – In some cases, the parties previously agreed upon specific damages to be awarded in case of a contract breach. These liquated damages estimate the losses resulting from a breach.
A court or non-breaching party may cancel a contract, indicating that the parties are no longer bound to it. In this case, all parties are relieved of the obligations under a contract.Restitution
Restitution puts the non-breaching party back into the same position it was in prior to the breach.Specific Performance
If more traditional damages, like monetary compensation, would not restore a non-breaching party to the original state, a specific performance could be necessary. A specific performance could include a breaching party’s being required by the court to perform the original duties under the contract.
How to Defend Against Breach of Contract
Breach of contract cases often come down to an argument between parties. If you have been accused of breaching a contract and do not agree with the accusation, our attorneys can take issue with any part of the plaintiff’s claims.
If a plaintiff claims breach of contract, that party has a duty to mitigate damages that could result from that breach. One defense that could be argued is that the plaintiff failed to mitigate those damages.
In some circumstances, there may be a basis to claim that the plaintiff failed to carry out the terms under the contract, and therefore they were the one who caused the breach.
Our attorneys will analyze your individual situation to come up with the best defense possible.
Fraud and Breach of Contract
While fraud and breach of contract can be two different things, contract fraud can also occur along with contract breach. Contract fraud occurs when one party enters into an agreement and presents false, misleading, or deceptive information to the other party or conceals information that should have been disclosed because the other party relies on such information. In order to prove fraud, it must be shown that the alleged guilty party was aware of the misrepresentation of factual material and was willfully attempting to deceive the other party.
In some cases, claims of fraud could be dismissed or diminished in a breach of contract case. This is because fraud could be implied in a breach of contract, and it could be easily assumed that a misrepresentation of fact led to the breach.
How Do You Handle Breach of Contract? Get Help from Our Business Attorneys.
If you find yourself involved in a business dispute that involves breach of contract, the stakes are likely to be too great to chance dealing with it alone. Get help from a breach of contract attorney experienced in all aspects of Missouri business law.
Business attorney Kelvin Birk knows contract issues from both the legal and accounting point of view and works with a dedicated legal team to guide clients through legal matters. Call the Birk Law Firm at 573-332-8585 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and see how we can help.
ALL YOUR LEGAL NEEDS
Why Choose Birk Law?
Birk Law Firm is a small firm by choice that is big on client services. Attorney Kelvin Birk and his team are responsive to their clients’ needs. When we sign on as your law firm, you can count on us for strong legal counsel, from negotiations to settlement to trial.
Our clients benefit from the intertwining of Kelvin Birk’s legal and CPA background and experience. We provide well-rounded advice to solve both legal and financial issues and to come up with creative solutions. We use modern technology to deliver legal services in a more efficient and client-focused manner than was previously possible.
We provide personalized and compassionate service. We believe that each client’s matter is the most important matter in the world to them, and we strive to treat it that way.