Most people in Pennsylvania will sign a contract at some point in their lives. Common scenarios include independent contracting jobs, rental agreements and even purchasing software that requires a user to click a checkbox to agree to contractual terms. If one party fails to substantially fulfill their duties under a contract, the aggrieved party may sue for breach of contract.
There are several necessary elements for a successful breach of contract claim. First, the contract must be valid and legally enforceable. It must meet all the elements for a contract. The plaintiff must have fulfilled their obligations and notified the defendant of the alleged breach.
There are different degrees of breach of contract. A material breach means that a party to the contract failed to fulfill their duties under the contract so substantially that it excuses the aggrieved party from fulfilling theirs. A partial breach is less significant and does not excuse the other party from performance. An anticipatory breach occurs when one party does something that signifies they may not fulfill their duties under the contract.
The party who has been sued can raise a defense. Common defenses include fraud, duress, undue influence, mistake and statute of limitations. An attorney with experience handling business litigation and disputes may advise clients who have questions about their best defense.
Remedies for breach of contract are intended to put the parties in the same position that they would have been if the contractual obligations had been fulfilled. Specific performance means that the party who breached the contract is court-ordered to fulfill their duties. Rescission means cancellation of the contract.
An attorney with experience handling business litigation and disputes may be able to assist clients who have questions about breach of contract. Contract cases can turn on small details, so it may be important to have a lawyer carefully review the contract and any relevant evidence.