Breach of Contract Remedies: Everything You Need to Know
A legal agreement is a business tool that provides a clear outline of the deal agreed upon by both the parties, it is enforceable by law.3 min read
Breach of contract remedies include:
- Monetary compensation.
- Punitive damages.
- Nominal damages.
- Liquidated damages.
- Quantum meruit.
- Specific performance.
Breach of Contract
A legal agreement is a business tool that provides a clear outline of the deal agreed upon by both the parties. It is enforceable by law and, thus, extends cover to both the parties. A written legal contract, therefore, offers an assurance to protect the lessor and the lessee from getting deceived.
Although it acts as armor against deception, there are times when any one of the parties do not follow the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement. In legal terms, not following the agreement is termed a breach of the contract.
Compensatory damages are the most common legal remedy for a breach of contract. Courts order the erring party to pay a certain sum of money to the other party. The victim party gets benefited by receiving the amount promised to it while entering into the contract.
The amount usually depends upon the extent of damage the victim suffers. In the case of a total breach, the litigant can reclaim the entire amount equal to the valuation of the contract, had it been executed with its full terms and conditions. The petitioner can even reclaim the profits lost due to the breach.
On the other hand, if the breach is partial, the litigant can hire a person to execute the agreement in full and reclaim the hiring cost from the party that breached the agreement. In some cases, hiring a third party to execute the agreement is forbidden and the unfulfilled part of the agreement is small. In such cases, courts may order the breaching party to pay the difference of the diminished value and the unfinished value of the contract.
For example, you hire an individual to clean up your house and agree to pay him $100 for the complete task. For some reason, the individual does not complete the job. When you search for someone else to get the job done, you find a person for $150. Now you can claim a damage of $150 from your first cleaner as he did not abide by the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Restitution is another remedy for breach of contract. The court orders the party found in breach of the contract to pay the other party the amount mentioned in the agreement. If you are seeking restitution, you may not claim compensation for loss in earnings arising out of the breach. Restitution usually involves returning property or money given in pursuance of a contract. It's granted mostly in cases where the erring party is incompetent and the court voids the contract.
An incompetent party can legally disown its contractual obligations, provided it does not worsen the position of the other party. Parties that sign an agreement due to forgery, force, influence, or mistake might as well request the agreement to be renegotiated and pen down new terms and conditions enforceable by law.
- Rescission annuls the contractual obligations of both the parties to the contract.
- When one party fails to execute the agreement, the other party is also relieved from fulfilling its duties under the agreement.
Reformation grants the court the authority to amend the terms and conditions of the agreement to rectify the disparity. Courts, however, do not intend to rectify the disparity present in the agreement while it was documented.
For example, a buyer of a property mentions a wrong acreage in the agreement, and, as a result, the agreement cannot be executed. The court will be reluctant to rectify such mistakes because the buyer should have measured the acreage properly before entering into the agreement.
Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases where a party causes damage to the other party through some deplorable act. For example, if a manufacturer intentionally sells some low-quality goods to his retailer.
Punitive damages aim at punishing the breaching party for its disgraceful act. They are more common in the law of torts and are rarely awarded for a breach of contract.
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