What are the Consequences of a Breach of Contract in California?
A violation of a binding contract’s terms is called a breach of contract. Breaches can range from a failure to deliver an agreed-upon service or could be as simple as a late installment payment. In California, contracts can be either written or oral in some circumstances. While some people might think that a breach of contract is a crime, it is not. Parties involved in a breach of contract issue can sometimes settle the problem themselves, or the breach of contract case may end up in a court of law.
Two Main Breach of Contract Types
Contract breaches are either material or immaterial. When you are promised a product by a certain due date and the product is not delivered, that is called an immaterial breach. If you ordered a cake at a bakery for a Thursday pickup and you were informed that it would not be ready until Friday morning, that is an immaterial breach of contract. This kind of breach does not defeat the contract’s purpose. You still received the cake — just a day late.
A material breach of contract occurs when the contract’s purpose is defeated. If you contract with a car painting facility to paint your car red, and instead, they paint it blue, that is a material breach of contract.
The Contract May Provide Remedies
The remedy for a breach of contract may be written into the original contract. For example, a late rent payment may require a $50 late fee. If the $50 late fee is paid, then the breach is repaired, and the other terms of the contract stay in place as if the breach had not occurred.
Legal Remedies for a Breach of Contract
The non-breaching contract party has the following other remedies available:
- If a contractor agrees with a homeowner to fix a sprinkler system but fails to complete the job, the homeowner does not need to pay the contractor. This means that the homeowner is declining to perform the homeowner’s portion of the contract.
- The injured party can sue and try to collect monetary damages. Sometimes the injured party can prove that losses flowed from the breach of contract and can collect those damages.
- The injured party can sue to force the other party to perform the contractual obligations. For example, if a home buyer has a contract to purchase a home, but the home seller has changed their mind, the home buyer can sue and try to force the home seller to sell the home according to the sale contract.
Statute of Limitations
Parties have four years to file a breach of written contract lawsuits. Parties have two years to file oral breach of contract lawsuits. The statute of limitations clock generally starts ticking when a party becomes aware that a breach has happened.
California Breach of Contract is Complex
A breach of contract can be a very complex legal event. While simple breaches can be resolved between the parties, anyone who has suffered a complex material breach of contract should strongly consider seeking good legal advice from a qualified California breach of contract attorney. Call the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz today at 626-844-7102 for a free case evaluation or schedule your evaluation online. Mr. Ritholz knows the parameters of complex business litigation, and he can provide valuable insight regarding your California breach of contract case.