Texas breach of contract laws offer legal protections and defenses in situations where someone has (or has not) failed to uphold the terms of an agreed-upon contract. A claim of breach of contract is considered a civil action in the state of Texas and to succeed, the plaintiff who alleges the breach must be able to prove the following elements:
- There exists a valid written or oral agreement between the parties, which includes:
- An offer
- Acceptance of the offer
- Consideration (what thing of value that each party is offering in the terms of the contract).
- Proof that the plaintiff has performed (and tendered performance of) the terms of the contract, or was excused from doing so.
- Proof that the defendant failed, in return, to fulfill or perform the contract terms pertaining to them.
- Evidence of damages that occurred to the plaintiff as a result of the breach of contract.
Breach of contract disputes, which often result in conflicting contract interpretation, can create a serious drain on a company’s valuable time and resources, as well as cause disruptions to day-to-day business operations…even to the point of threatening the company’s continued viability and success.
Breach of Contract
Some common breach of contract issues include:
- Whether a breach occurred and, if so, whether the breach was material.
- Whether a party is excused from performance due to a breach by another party or some other reason.
- Calculation of damages and whether a party is entitled to an order requiring a party to do or refrain from doing something instead of damages.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitation for filing a contract breach is within four years of the occurrence of the breach. This can be limited to as little as two years (though no less in most cases) depending on the terms of the contract. Claims filed beyond the statute of limitations are legally invalid and will be automatically dismissed by the court.
Punitive vs. General Damages
While punitive damages or exemplary damages are not recoverable in a breach of contract action, both general and special (consequential) compensatory damages can be sought by the plaintiff to restore themselves to where they would have been if the contract had not been breached.
The heart of the attorney’s practice is assisting clients in finding satisfactory resolutions to their disputes. Often, this requires the presentation of conflicting opinions, interpretations, or positions before a judge and jury. In a breach of contract situation, especially when a contract is vague or ambiguous, extrinsic evidence often can be used to help determine the party’s original intent. This can become increasingly complicated given the different sets of rules and laws which can apply to different styles of legally binding contracts.
Interpretation is typically based on common law rules and turns on the intent of the parties as expressed in the contract or, in some cases, evidence outside the contract. Some contacts fall under the guidelines of real property, employment, security laws, or consumer protection laws. In addition, these cases often involve multiple parties of varying sophistication, such as high-end corporate or even government entities, and may represent highly complex, occasionally labyrinthine legal issues.
Given these (and other) complications and interpretations, it is vital that parties avail themselves of experienced legal counsel; attorneys who are well versed in not only specific local law, as it pertains to contract disputes, but to any recent or upcoming changes to those laws. At Gray Becker, our primary focus is always our client’s priorities and bottom line. The firm has a reputation for cost-effective representation regardless of the forum. The firm’s attorneys are well-versed in all types of contract disputes, including:
- Contracts for sale or purchase
- Deceptive trade practices
- Employment contracts
- Noncompete agreements
The attorneys at Gray Becker are skilled litigators with experience representing clients in a variety of contract disputes. We have represented a diverse range of industries such as real estate development, construction, and health care. Further, our business litigation group understands that success requires thorough preparation.