Northern California Business Litigation Lawyers – Breach of Contract Cases
Entering into a contract presents a mutual advantage to parties—each party gets something in exchange for something else. While many contracts are straightforward and the terms of the contract are adhered to, others can be highly complex. In some cases, parties may knowingly or unknowingly breach the provisions of a contract, leading to a dispute and, sometimes, litigation.
At the law office of Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP, our business litigation attorneys are highly experienced in breach of contract cases involving small and medium-sized businesses.
Breach of Contract: The Basics
When a contract exists between two or more parties that has been properly signed, all parties are legally obligated to perform their duties as stipulated by the contract. A breach of contract case exists when one or more parties fail to perform promises made in the contract without having a legal excuse to do so. This can include both larger and fewer numbers of material breaches, as well as failure to meet the requirements of an implied or express warranty.
Types of Breaches of Contract
Business contracts can exist between partners, customers, suppliers and vendors, distributors, other businesses, licensors and licensees, and more. As such, there are many types of duties and promises that may be listed in a contract, and many types of contract breaches that may occur.
Resolving Breach of Contract Disputes
When a breach of contract dispute arises, resolution may involve one or a combination of the following:
- The first step to resolving a breach of contract dispute can often be mediation if the contract provides for it. Mediation refers to a facilitated process whereby the parties present their sides to the neutral third-party mediator to come up with a mutually agreeable voluntary resolution without the involvement of a third-party decision maker (such as a judge). Parties involved in mediation are fully responsible for the outcome; the mediator is a neutral party who is only responsible for guiding the negotiation process, not making decisions.
- If mediation is not required by the contract or fails to result in a resolution, the parties may be required by the contract to arbitrate the dispute. Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method whereby parties present their cases to a neutral third-party arbitrator who evaluates the evidence and arguments of the parties and makes either a binding or non-binding decision, depending on the requirements of the contract, about the outcome. Arbitration is non-public, generally less expensive, and takes less time than civil litigation. Many contracts require arbitration when disputes arise, but parties are also free to mutually agree to resolve their contract dispute through arbitration.
- If mediation and arbitration are not required by the contract, or where mediation or non-binding arbitration have been unsuccessful, s a contract dispute may result in civil litigation. Civil litigation is handled through the court system, is governed by numerous procedural rules, and can be both expensive and time-consuming.
Call Our Northern California Business Litigation Lawyers Today
At the Law Office of Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP, our business litigation attorneys understand how frustrating being involved in a contract dispute can be, as well as how important the stakes can be for you or your company. To learn more about your legal options and to obtain the skilled, knowledgeable, and responsive legal support you need, reach out to our office by phone at 415-399-2900, in person, or online. We have offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Lafayette, California.