Breach of Contract

Businesses depend on the services and support of other businesses and individuals in order to operate. Nearly every relationship between businesses, or between a business and an individual, is based on a contract. If one party to a contract fails to fulfill its obligations, another party may recover damages for breach of contract. If you have suffered damages because of a breach of contract, or if someone is claiming that you breached a contract, an experienced Chicago contract lawsuit lawyer can help you by evaluating the contract at issue and identifying all available claims and defenses to maximize your recovery or minimize the impact of defending against such a claim.

Types of Contracts

It would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list of all business and commercial contracts without occupying multiple volumes of text. We have, however, seen certain types of contracts that are common in breach of contract claims:

  • Employment contracts: employee or independent contractor agreements, non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, trade secret disputes.
  • Commercial contracts: purchase and sales agreements, vendor agreements, trade agreements, supply contracts, parts contracts.
  • Service contracts: construction contracts, utility contracts.
  • Real estate contracts: real property sales contracts, lease agreements.
  • Business contracts: partnership agreements, business sales and merger agreements, investment and capital agreements, joint venture agreements, franchise agreements, disputes over fair market value.
Elements of a Contract

A contract is essentially any agreement in which one party makes an offer, another party accepts, and both parties are obligated to do something. A party’s contribution to the agreement, known as “consideration,” could involve payment of money or something else of value, abstention from a specific action, or a promise to perform a service or other action. Except in certain circumstances, a contract need not be in writing to be enforceable, although the burden is on the party claiming breach to prove the existence of a contract.

Contract Enforcement

To enforce a contract, the party claiming breach must show the existence of a valid and binding contract and demonstrate the breach. That party must also prove damages, which could be the amount expended in reliance on the other party’s performance of the contract, or the amount of value the party expected to obtain but for the breach of the contract. In some situations, such as a real estate sales contract, a party can claim “specific performance,” meaning the party in breach must fulfill its contractual obligations rather than pay monetary damages. Our contract lawsuit attorneys can advise Chicago clients on which types of remedies they may be able to seek.

Breach of Contract Defense

A first step in defending against a breach of contract claim may be to challenge the enforceability, or the existence, of a contract. Both parties to a contract must have been aware of the intent to enter into a contract at the time they allegedly made the agreement, and in the case of a contract with a business, the person making the agreement must have had the authority to bind the business. A defendant in a breach of contract claim may dispute the claimed damages, or may dispute liability by showing that the plaintiff was also in breach of the contract, thus negating the breach claim.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle’s Chicago contract lawsuit attorneys maintain offices in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. We work with clients throughout the State of Illinois, including the Chicago area and DuPage County, as well as in Wisconsin and Indiana. To set up a consultation with a contract lawsuit lawyer in Chicago, contact us by email, at (877) 990-4990, or locally at (630) 333-0000.

Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog - Breach of Contract