Contracts are the backbone of a successful business. With a contract, you can spell out the expectations you have for the other party and clarify your business' responsibilities. A solid contract can go a long way in preventing disputes with your employees, clients and vendors, and it can provide a legal defense if a dispute should arise.
Even if you and the other party agree to the terms of the contract and sign it, there is still the chance that the other party may violate the terms to which you have agreed. This is what the law calls a breach of contract. If the other party fails to fulfill the terms of the contract in whole or in part, you may find yourself in a frustrating and complex situation that may require the involvement of the New York civil court system.
Taking the appropriate steps after a contract breach
If you had a valid contract with the other party, you certainly expect him or her to honor the terms you agreed upon or risk claims of breach of contract. One example of a contract breach includes a client not paying you the amount you agreed on by a deadline. An employee may also breach a non-compete contract by accepting a job at a competing company. A vendor may have accepted your payment but failed to deliver supplies listed in your contract, constituting a breach.
Once you are aware of a contract breach, you can take the following steps:
- Make sure you have fulfilled your obligation as described in the document.
- Notify the other party in writing that he or she is in violation of the contract terms.
- Take steps to file your complaint before the statute of limitations runs out.
- Consider any defense strategies the other party may use, such as claiming the contract is not valid due to fraud, mistakes, undue influence or duress.
- Decide on the remedy you will ask of the court, for example seeking an injunction or pursuing financial damages.
Each of these steps may involve complex matters of law. Making sure you have a thorough understanding of these laws and statutes may take a great deal of your time and energy away from your business. Instead, you may wish to seek the assistance of a skilled business attorney, who can guide you in finding the most resourceful and efficient way of resolving your contract dispute.