Breach of Contract

Civil Litigation Attorney Advocating for Businesses and Individuals in Pensacola and Surrounding Areas

When contractual obligations are ignored, trying to obtain payment or performance puts pressure on people and businesses. To bring any resulting dispute to a favorable conclusion, it is important to consult a civil litigation attorney who can handle a related claim on your behalf. Pensacola contract litigation lawyer Ryan M. Cardoso can help you navigate the process of enforcing a contract’s terms if someone else has failed to honor their obligations under it. He can advise you on the types of remedies that you may be able to obtain and craft a strategy for pursuing them, depending on your specific situation.

Understanding Types of Contracts (Written, Oral, and Implied)

In legal terms, a contract is an agreement that consists of an offer of a good or service, an acceptance of the offer, and payment (called consideration) in exchange for the good or service offered. Contracts may be oral, written, or even implied. Oral contracts are usually legally binding, although there must be proof of an agreement on all of the essential terms of the contract in order for an oral contract to be enforceable. Some contracts, such as agreements to sell real estate or contracts that cannot be performed within one year, are required to be in writing (under the Florida Statute of Frauds) to be legally enforceable.

Written contracts cannot be changed by outside evidence if the written terms of the contract are complete, clear, and unambiguous. Implied contracts, also called quasi-contracts, arise from the actions of the parties. They tend to apply to situations in which a party accepts goods or services for which no price was negotiated, but the receiver of the goods or services would be unjustly enriched if an implied contract was not enforced.

When Is a Contract Breached?

Good faith and fair dealing are hallmarks of good contract execution, and they assure that the parties to the contract receive the benefits of their bargain. When a party fails to live up to the assurances made in a contract, the other party can sue for a breach of contract. To prove a breach of contract, a plaintiff must demonstrate that a valid contract exists, that there is a breach (material or non-material), and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result. A contract litigation attorney can help Pensacola residents and businesses gather evidence to prove these elements.

A material breach is a failure to perform an essential obligation under the contract. While a plaintiff may be able to recover damages for any breach (material or non-material), only a material breach of a contract by the defendant will relieve the plaintiff of their own obligation to fulfill their duties owed under the contract.

Damages and Equitable Remedies

Equity is considered when a monetary award will not fully compensate for the damages resulting from a breach of contract. Some remedies include specific performance (ordering a party to perform a contract obligation), an injunction (ordering a party to take or refrain from taking an action), contract rescission (negating the contract entirely - often used in cases of fraudulent contracts), contract reformation (rewriting a contract to remedy a mistake), and quantum meruit (paying the reasonable value of goods or services provided to avoid the unjust enrichment of a party).

Pensacola contract litigation attorney Ryan M. Cardoso can help you sort out the facts, enforce agreements, and pursue the appropriate remedies in a contract case, such as when a party engages in fraud or false pretenses, fails to pay on a promissory note, or fails to pay for goods or services.

Fraudulent Inducement

If someone induces another party to sign a contract based upon a material misrepresentation, the aggrieved party can sue for damages. In order to prevail, the plaintiff must show that the defendant misrepresented a material matter, the defendant knew or should have known of the misrepresentation, the defendant intended for the plaintiff to rely on the misrepresentation, and the plaintiff justifiably relied upon the misrepresentation and was harmed by it. Often, a court will provide for the rescission of the contract in a case of fraudulent inducement. Tort remedies may also be available when a party acts with fraudulent intent.

Enforcement of a Promissory Note

A promissory note is a written agreement to repay money loaned. It may include details such as payment due dates and interest. Notes can be secured by collateral or unsecured. In the event that a secured note goes unpaid, the lender will have the option of taking possession of the collateral in order to satisfy the debt. Unsecured notes are backed solely by the borrower's promise to pay. A demand letter is the first step toward collecting when there is a failure to make payments. Collecting payments can be tricky, so you should let an attorney guide your collection case through the court system if a borrower fails to make scheduled payments.

Failure to Pay for Goods or Services

Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for services performed or goods delivered. A breach of contract complaint can be made regarding any written or oral contract when a party fails to pay money owed. In the event that there is no contract, an aggrieved party can sue for the reasonable value of the goods or services provided under the theory of quantum meruit.

Insurance Company Contracts

Insurance companies agree to pay a sum of money in the event of a loss described in the insurance policy, provided that the insured has made agreed-upon premium payments. Insurance companies can be difficult to hold to their end of the bargain when they deny a valid claim, such as a claim made by a car accident victim. Insurance lawyer Ryan M. Cardoso has litigated claims against insurance companies and knows the procedures necessary to get your claim paid.

Contact a Knowledgeable Contract Litigation Lawyer in the Pensacola Area

Ryan M. Cardoso is well-versed in the nuances of contract law. He can resolve legal issues related to independent contractor agreements, non-compete contracts, insurance claims, and other contract issues. Put his experience to work for you, and you will have an advocate who respects the importance of your legal case and its impact on your personal and professional life. Call 850-466-2073 or contact us online. Attorney Cardoso also represents clients in areas such as West Pensacola, Cantonment, Brent, Bellview, Ferry Pass, Century, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, Jay, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Niceville, as well as other communities in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties. In addition, he can represent people who need a criminal defense lawyer to help them fight charges in Florida or federal courts.