A Breach of Contract claim consists of three elements. You need to have all three in order to have a case.
- An Agreement between the parties. In order for something to be considered an agreement under the law, the promise of certain behavior is crucial. It’s not enough for two people to say they’d like to do something in the future, there need to be specifics: a certain action will be taken by one party in response to some incentive or circumstances.
- Non-Performance by one party that failed to uphold their side of the agreement. For example, someone entered a contract where they agreed to make monthly payments or perform a certain service and they stopped doing so at some point. Breach of Contract claims are more straightforward to argue if you continued to uphold your end of the agreement after the breach. If you didn’t, the opposing party is likely to file a counter suit against you in response (which is fairly routine in these matters).
- Consequential Damages which is an amount of money (or something else) you lost as a result of the other party’s violation of the agreement. This includes damages it was reasonable for the other side to know you would lose as a result of their violation of the agreement. There is no award for ‘pain and suffering’ in a Breach of Contract case.
Breach of Contract: Representation
John F. Baker represents earnest, trusting people and businesses who entered an agreement where the other party failed to perform their obligations or accused them of the same. Over the last decade, we have been honored to serve businesses and individual clients on both sides of these disputes in Aurora, Illinois, and surrounding communities such as Naperville, Oswego, Wheaton, and Warrenville for cases such as:
Contract Disputes where one party claims the other party failed to fulfill their obligation under the agreement.
Employment Disputes concerning an agreement between an employee and employer, relating to the violation of employment, confidentiality, non-compete, and/or non-disclosure agreement or a conflict concerning pay. Please note that we do not handle civil rights disputes at this time.
Construction Disputes related to incomplete work, unfinished work, incorrect work, non-payment, conflicts with insurance, as well as construction liens and enforcement. John Baker has represented numerous contractors and homeowners in these matters.
Partnership Disputes encompassing the violation or enforcement of partnership agreements, shareholder agreements, and operating agreements. The Law Offices of John F. Baker drafts many of these documents and is well versed in their nuances.
Trademark Disputes where a party violates a copyright or trademark (or is accused of violating the same).
Breach of Contract: What Matters to You
You deserve a lawyer that responds to you, understands the unique circumstances of your business, and prioritizes your busy schedule. More than that, you deserve an advocate that knows what it’s like to run a business firsthand, what it’s like to be cheated, and the added pressures that come when people’s livelihoods are at stake. Let’s work together to protect what you’ve worked so hard for.
Here are the most common concerns we see:
What am I entitled to? As stated above, you are entitled to the consequential damages you lost as a result of the other party’s breach of the agreement. The legal standard in these types of cases is making the wronged party whole again, as if the breach never happened. Accordingly, you will still need to pay the opposing party for any part of the contract that they completed before the breach. For example, let’s say you agreed to pay a contractor $12,000 for a new patio and they only complete 80%. The amount of the suit would be the cost to finish the patio (around $2,400), not the full $12,000. Again, there are no awards for ‘pain and suffering’ in a Breach of Contract case.
Can I get attorney’s fees? The simple answer is no. Though it’s standard to ask for attorney’s fees in most of these claims, it’s almost unheard of for judges to award them. As such, it’s best to assume that you won’t be getting them and budget accordingly.
What if our agreement wasn’t in writing? Though a written contract has clearer terms and is easier to prove, a verbal agreement is perfectly fine, so long as it meets the criterion (promise of behavior). Breach of Contract cases based on a verbal agreement are more likely to trend into ‘he-said, she-said’ territory. Accordingly, the strategy for cases with a verbal agreement is to establish payments and other regular activities between the parties in the attempt to demonstrate that an agreement existed under specific terms.
Someone said they’re going to sue me, what do I do? In most cases, we advise that you wait and see if the other person actually files a lawsuit. More often than not, it’s just a threat and they won’t. Once a lawyer is involved, another option is to have an attorney attempt to negotiate on your behalf. Other than that, until a lawsuit has been filed, there’s relatively little for an attorney to do, so save your money (and all your records) for now, so you’re ready if the time comes. If it does, we’re in exactly the same position, only better prepared, and we’ll be happy to file your answer and/or counterclaim once we know everything they’re alleging.
Can you send a letter? While many breach of contract claims do involve sending a demand letter to see if the other party would consider a settlement before filing anything, the letter does not accomplish anything in over 99% of cases. So, yes, we can send a letter, however we don’t send idle threats – if you want a resolution, you need to be prepared to file a lawsuit.
What’s the cost? All cases are different, and the costs reflect that. Similarly, there are multiple times during a case that it’s more likely to settle (after discovery, after arbitration, before trial, etc.) – if it does, the costs will be lower. That having said, without knowing the particulars of your case, based on the filing fees and our hourly rate, we estimate that a current client’s minimum investment for a lawsuit is $15,000. You would never pay that amount upfront, that’s over the whole case; you would pay an initial retainer at signing and receive regular statements once it has been depleted. Your main takeaway, though, should be to make sure that your damages justify the cost of the litigation. We’d love to represent you in your claim, however if you’re only looking to collect $2,000, for example, it likely doesn’t make sense for you.
Let’s Discuss Your Case
We understand what your business means to you and your employees. You deserve justice, not broken promises. Call us today at (630) 801-8661 and tell us how we can help.