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 Breach of Contract FAQs

We have the knowledge, experience and resources to represent you in cases related to:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Partnership Disputes
  • Failure to Perform
  • Payment and Collection
  • Business Tort Claims
  • Fraud
  • Business Purchases
  • Employment Law
  • Business Disputes
  • Unfair Competition
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  • Misrepresentation

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BREACH OF CONTRACT AND OTHER CIVIL LITIGATION

Suffered a breach of contract, or are you being falsely accused of breaching a contract?  We bring the knowledge and methods necessary to quickly resolve breach of contract matters and any other business litigation matters throughout Orange County and Southern California.  We are results-oriented, with a constant eye on the bottom line.  Our cutting-edge technology and techniques allow us to bring you the highest quality legal services, usually at a fraction of the cost charged by other firms.  Be sure to visit our Victories page and News Items to see how we approach litigation. 

What is a Breach of Contract?

Most contract breaches are easily identified and require no definition.  But sometimes you have a breach of contract that is not worth pursuing.  You need to determine whether the breach was material and caused damages.

Say, for example, you hire a contractor to paint the outside of your office building.  The contract provides that the job will be completed by June 1, but does not provide for any penalties for breaching the contract by failing to finish the project by that date (usually called "liquidated damages").  June 1 comes and goes and the job is not completed.  You call the painting company and complain, send a demand letter, and finally the painters show up and the job is finished on June 9.  Clearly there has been a breach of contract, but was it material, and did it cause damages?

In terms of damages, did the eight day delay keep you from renting office space?  Did it prevent you from using any portion of the building?  Did you lose any tenants as a result of the delay?  You may have been frustrated by the delay, but did it really cost you any money?  You see, the fact that there has been a breach of contract does not always mean that you can or should sue. 

The Restatement (Second) of Contracts lists the following criteria to determine whether a specific failure constitutes a breach:

In determining whether a failure to render or to offer performance is material, the following circumstances are significant: (a) the extent to which the injured party will be deprived of the benefit which he reasonably expected; (b) the extent to which the injured party can be adequately compensated for the part of that benefit of which he will be deprived; (c) the extent to which the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will suffer forfeiture; (d) the likelihood that the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will cure his failure, taking account of all the circumstances including any reasonable assurances; (e) the extent to which the behavior of the party failing to perform or to offer to perform comports with standards of good faith and fair dealing.

American Law Institute, Restatement (Second) of Contracts 241 (1981)

If the breach of contract was flagrant, can I sue for fraud?

Many have the understanding that a breach of contract action can somehow morph into a fraud action if the breach was intentional or caused great harm.  For example, we often get calls from people who have loaned money to someone, who stops making payments after a few months.  The person is very upset because they were depending on the payments, and now because of the loan they are missing their own payments and suffering late fees and damaged credit.  They proclaim that they want to sue for fraud and punitive damages.  

Breach of contract and fraud are completely different causes of action and normally occur at different times.  To prevail on a breach of contract cause of action, you basically need only prove that you performed under the agreement, but the other side failed to do so.  For fraud, you must show that the defendant (1) made a misrepresentation, (2) knowing it was false, (3) intending that you rely on the misrepresentation, and that (4) you justifiably relied on that misrepresentation, (5) to your detriment.  Thus, if the defendant took the loan fully intending to pay it back, that is not fraud.  Stated another way, fraud must take place before you loan the money, breach of contract occurs when the money is not paid back. 

That is not to say both cannot occur.  If the defendant took the money knowing he could not pay it back, that is fraud.  And when he later fails to repay the money, that is still breach of contract. 


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"Perhaps it is my age or 40+ years of experience in the law, but it is compelling to comment that the performances of both counsel in this case, in terms of dedication to the law, to their clients, and to their scholarship make me proud to again call myself a 'Lawyer.'"

-- Orange County Superior Judge Robert J. Polis (Ret.), commenting on the performance of counsel from Morris & Stone.

 
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Morris & Stone, LLP | 505 N. Tustin Ave., Suite 250, Santa Ana, CA  92705
Phone: 714-954-0700 | Fax: 714-242-2058 | Email: info@TopLawFirm.com

The Orange County breach of contract and business litigation law firm of Morris & Stone provides business litigation and civil lawsuit legal services to clients in Southern California, in Orange County, Riverside County, San Diego County, and Los Angeles County; in cities including Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Mission Viejo, Orange, Fountain Valley, Tustin, Anaheim, and Fullerton.  For practice areas not handled by Morris & Stone, be sure to visit Best Orange County Lawyers.  For news on business litigation and Internet Defamation, visit Aaron Morris' blogs.   Copyright 2009. Morris & Stone, LLP. All Rights Reserved.

The outcome of any case will depend on the facts specific to that case.  Nothing contained in any portion of this web site should be taken as a representation of how your particular case would be concluded, or even that a case with similar facts will have a similar result.  The result of any case discussed herein was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.