Chandler Contract Dispute Lawyers | Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm

Chandler Contract Dispute Attorneys

Do you have a Breach of Contract case in Arizona? As a preliminary matter, a contract must be valid and enforceable for a party to seek compliance. In Arizona, a contract must include an offer, acceptance, and consideration, which means the benefit that each party gets or expects to get from the agreement such as money, value, performance, etc. While many contracts can be written or oral, there are certain contracts that must be in writing to be legally enforceable under Arizona law. Among others, contracts for the sale of real estate, lease agreements for more than a year, guarantees of another’s debt, and the sale of goods over $500 must be in writing to be enforceable under Arizona’s statute of frauds, A.R.S. §44-101.

A breach of contract occurs when a party fails to comply with the terms of the agreement. However, there are different types of remedies for different types of breaches that may occur. Generally, a breach may be material, partial, or anticipatory. A material breach occurs when a party fails to fully comply with their obligations under the agreement. A partial breach occurs when a party performs some terms but fails to completely perform all their obligations. Finally, an anticipatory breach occurs when one party anticipates the other party will not or is unable to fully perform their contractual obligations.

To maintain a breach of contract claim, a party must establish each of the following: (1) the existence of a valid and enforceable contract, (2) performance by the party bringing the claim or reasonable efforts to fulfill their contractual obligations, (3) the other party’s failure to perform as required under the agreement, and (4) damages and losses resulting from the breach, which includes all losses that are the natural and probable consequence of the breach of the contract.

Parties can resolve issues relating to contract disputes in various ways. First, the parties can informally try to work out their differences or agree to revise the terms of the agreement as acceptable by all parties. If a dispute occurs, the parties may want to consider private mediation or arbitration, by which a neutral third-party acts as a mediator to assist in trying to help the parties settle the dispute or as an arbitrator who will make a decision to resolve the dispute. Please be advised that some contracts may include an arbitration provision that requires the parties to arbitrate any disputes under the contract.

If the parties are unable to informally resolve the dispute, a common action is a lawsuit. Most contract claims must be brought within 6 years, but there may some exceptions that shorten that time. The amount in dispute often dictates where a lawsuit may be filed. In this regard, a claim for $3,500 or less may be brought in small claims court. Claims for $10,000 or less may be brought in justice court, while claims over $10,000 may be brought in the applicable county superior court. Federal court may have jurisdiction if the parties are from different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

There are various defenses to breach of contract claims. Defenses may include the lack of a valid or enforceable contract, such as the lack of the contract formation requirements, lack of a written agreement as required for certain contracts, or the lack of capacity to legally contract as with contract with minors or someone deemed mentally incompetent. A party may also have a defense if that party was fraudulently induced to enter into the agreement by deception, lies, misrepresentations, or duress. Mistake by both parties to the terms of the agreement may also be grounds for a defense to a breach of contract claim. An example of a mistake is where one party has a couple of bicycles and the contract calls for the sale of a bicycle, but the contract was unclear as to which bicycle and each party truly believed the sale was for a different bicycle.

A party may also defend a breach of contract claim by claiming the contract is unconscionable. A grossly unfair contract may be unconscionable and unenforceable. This situation usually occurs when one party has most, if not all, of the bargaining power, and that party forces considerably unfair terms, conditions, or waivers on the other party. Estoppel is another defense often asserted. An example of estoppel occurs when one party excuses performance of a contract term and the other party relies on that statement, and the party excusing performance is prevented from later denying that performance was excused then claiming a breach. There is also a defense to breach of contract if the contract is illegal and therefore unenforceable. In this regard, a contract to engage in illegal activities is not enforceable, such as a contract to rob a bank, to engage in tax fraud, or to sell alcohol to minors.

Other defenses may exist depending on the terms of the agreement, the underlying facts and situation, and circumstances specific to the agreement. Also, there may be situation involving partial defenses. In this regard, a breaching party may agree he/she/it breached the agreement but disputes the amount of damages or remedies sought by the non-breaching party.

If you are dealing with a contract dispute in Chandler, you should consider consulting an attorney to discuss your rights and the options available to you. email the Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm or call us at 480-755-7110 to discuss your contract dispute matter.

Arizona Office Address:
3185 S. Price Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85248
Phone: 480-755-7110

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Terry L.
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