When you first bring your breach of contract lawsuit, you're probably got a pretty clear picture of what you think should happen. Let's say you're suing somebody because they haven't performed under the contract. Either you want them to do something or you want them to pay you some money. This is all part of that strategy. When you first meet with your attorney to figure out how do you want to frame your lawsuit and what kind of damages you're looking for. And what we're looking at when you win your lawsuit is what's called a remedy which is how can the court remedy what's happened to you, as you filed your breach of contract lawsuit?

The most basic way that a court can offer a remedy for you with a breach of contract is by giving you money and we call those monetary damages. And when you have a breach of contract case, in most situations, that's going to be the answer the court gives you. You were supposed to do something under the contract, and you didn't do it. So now you owe that other person's money. Or you have a contract with somebody who's just to provide you with let's say Smiley's for your business. You pay them $10,000 They didn't give you the items, the court console where you get your $10,000 back. One question you're gonna have, of course is in order to file that lawsuit. Are you going to be able to recover your attorneys fees, and that's going to be a big question. You have to look at your contract to make sure it says whether you get your attorneys fees for having to file this lawsuit. You'll also want to remember that if you're a company that needs to sue somebody, you're going to need to hire an attorney because companies can't represent themselves in court, absent a very few exceptions.

So money damages money. Paid from one party to the other are the most common resolutions we see in a breach of contract lawsuit. But you should know there are actually four other types of remedies that you may want to consider. Now when it comes to all these remedies, you want to make sure you're working with professionals so you understand what it takes to be awarded these because if you tried to do some of these yourself, you may find that although you should have been entitled to it, you didn't file it correctly, or you didn't have the right papers. And so you're not going to get that remedy. So what do we call these other remedies? We call them equitable remedies. equitable remedies are a way for the court to try to make a fair outcome to a lawsuit where money isn't always the best way to put the parties in the right position after the contract has been breached. So in an end, you can be awarded these in addition to money so the court can give you your $10,000 and still give you more money on top of that. The first equitable remedy is an injunction. Now, these are things you probably see in the news because when big companies or something really specific is happening, the court may step in and stop you from doing something. So in the political realm, when you've had certain executive orders, a court can issue an injunction and the government can't do that. And until this case is resolved, the government can't go forward with let's say deporting people, until they've actually had the case fully litigated and the judge makes the final decision. So when we're talking about injunctions, there's two main types. The first is a temporary injunction that will usually only last for the length of your lawsuit and that is a court looks at the initial papers and says, Okay, I've got these in front of me. I'm not sure how it's gonna come out in the end, but it looks like the plaintiffs going to win. So I'm going to stop the other party from doing something until we have this case finally resolved. And then at the end of that case, the court may actually issue what's called a permanent injunction, which means that permanently the other party can't do something. If you're involved in intellectual property litigation, for example, a trademark or a copyright case, a permanent injunction can be a common remedy so that that other party isn't infringing on your intellectual property.

Second remedy we're going to talk about is what's called specific performance, and this is where you have something that's unique. Let's say you have a classic car that is subject to the contract, or very commonly, real estate. And so the court finds that because you have a unique purpose under that contract, that can't actually be fulfilled with just a monetary damage. They can order specific performance in the case of a lawsuit over real property. Let's say the contract was for the sale of property, the court can order that the property is actually sold to the other party under the terms of the contract, or under different terms depending on what happened. The third equitable remedy is what's called rescission so rescission means that the court was terminating some or all of the contract. So the court may look at the contract and say, this clause is invalid or this clause is invalid. And so I'm gonna essentially pull them out of the contract, and they're not enforceable. Or let's say there's a different issue where the entire contract isn't really going to be enforceable, and the court wants to then rescind the contract. So using rescission, the entire contract can actually be terminated by the court. And then the final number four is re formation. So when we reform the contract, this happens a lot when you have two parties who have put together a contract without the help of attorneys, and sometimes that happens when attorneys are involved too. And what this says is that you have a contract, it says one thing, but in reality, the parties meant something different. So the courts probably heard testimony from both sides and realize that even though the contract says this was supposed to be 10 widgets for $10,000, what they really meant was its professional consulting services, and it was going to be $15,000. So what the court does is reforms the contract so that it abides to what the two parties really intended to do when they created that contract.

As you can see with this for equitable remedies, they're not something that you necessarily want to try yourself, especially when we look at things like re formation. This is often because you've tried to create a contract yourself and you have either missing terms or incorrect terms, and the contract really doesn't reflect what you and the other party were discussing.

So if you're in a breach of contract case, or you're thinking of filing breach of contract is in addition to money damages, you want to consider whether injunctions specific performance, precision and re formation are also possible, possible remedies.

Rather than trying to do this yourself, you want to work with professionals to make sure you're getting the best help available and working towards the best resolution. If you're ready to get started, whether you want to bring breach of contract lawsuit, or maybe you've recently been sued, you can go to my website, Andrew M ayers.com. There's a red button on the homepage for legal strategy session. That will take you directly to my calendar and we can set up a 15 or 20 minute legal strategy session. To review your situation, review your lawsuit or lawsuit you're going to file and give you some next best steps and the best options for you and your business.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.