When a breach of contract occurs, there are a few different legal remedies to make the injured party whole, which is the goal of any civil remedy. The most common is a monetary damages award, which is compensation paid by the party that caused the breach.
There are also equitable remedies, which relate to fairness rather than the actual monetary damages resulting from the breach. Although less common than compensatory damages, equitable remedies may be proper in certain circumstances. Specific performance is one of those remedies. It is used when there is no other remedy that will adequately compensate the wronged party — usually when the subject of the contract is unique such as real estate, works of art, or custom products, or when the damage amount is not clear.
The equitable remedy of specific performance requires the breaching party to perform the contract as agreed. If the alleged breach is non-delivery of an item pursuant to a purchase agreement, then specific performance could require the seller of the item to deliver it to the purchaser.
In order to seek relief of specific performance, there must be a valid legal contract that the court considers fair and equitable. There are other circumstances under which specific performance would not be available as an equitable remedy, including when:
- The plaintiff is also in breach of contract.
- It is impossible for the defendant to perform what is required under the contract.
- The contract includes “termination at will” provisions.
If another’s breach has harmed your business, or if you have been accused of breaching a contract, it is very important to contact an experienced business litigation attorney right away. Before filing any legal claim, it is important to know whether there was a breach, whether the breach was material or minor, what options are available to enforce the contract provision, and whether there are any defenses.
When contract disputes arise, you need experienced legal representation and advice. Williams Mestaz, L.L.P., is a law firm focusing on contract disputes and business divorce. Contact us at (602) 256-9400 and schedule a time to meet with us today.