What are the Elements of a Breach of Contract in Arizona?
There are only three elements to a breach of contract claim in Arizona. First, you must establish that there was a legally enforceable contract. Second, you must establish that the terms of the contract were breached. Lastly, you must suffer financial injury as a result of the breach. The last element is essential. You cannot file a lawsuit if you did not suffer any financial injury. If you are currently in a battle over a breach of contract in Arizona, our Tempe, AZ business attorneys for more information.
Does an Enforceable Contract Exist?
Not all contracts require a signed document, and not all signed documents will be considered contracts under scrutiny. There are three elements to a contract. You must establish that you made an offer to a customer, the customer accepted the offer, and both parties were set to receive benefits from the offer.
As a simple example, a customer offers me $500 to paint their house. I accept the $500 and tell the customer the work will be completed in two weeks. Even without written documentation, the customer would be able to convince the court or a jury that the company promised to complete the work upon payment of $500.
A Tempe, AZ business attorney can take a look at your contract and determine whether or not it was legally valid at the time it was signed. We also help companies prepare contracts that will withstand legal scrutiny.
Breach of Contract
A contract is breached when one party does not fulfill the terms laid out in the contract. For the customer, this could mean nonpayment. For the service provider, this could mean a failure to perform the service, or a failure to perform the service well.
To win a breach of contract claim, the plaintiff must establish that the essence of the contract was breached, not necessarily just some ancillary provision. For example, if the painter only left half of the house painted, that would violate the spirit of the contract because the contract was for a painted house. However, if the painter paints the house and the owner realizes they don’t like the color after it’s dried, they cannot refuse to pay the painter.
Now, what happens if the painter accidentally uses the wrong color and the owner refuses to pay? This could end up before a judge who would decide the proper way to remedy the situation under the law.
Our Arizona business attorneys can determine where the breach occurred and ensure that you are not placed in financial hardship because of a bad business deal.
It turns out that you asked the painter to paint your house blue. But the painter had a work order for a pink house the next day. The painter confused the two orders and now he’s asking for his money, but you never asked him to paint your house pink.
In real life, the painter would probably just eat the order and repaint the house properly, but this painter is going to play hardball. He sends out a demand letter to the customer, hires a lawyer, and sues for the money the homeowner refused to pay. The painter claims he fulfilled the terms of the contract, the customer demanded a pink house, and he does not know why he is so upset.
The customer claims he asked for a blue house, has now incurred the expense of having the house repainted, and is being sued by a guy who painted his house the wrong color.
In this case, the pinkness of the plaintiff’s house actually constitutes damages that have to be repaired. Not only would the homeowner likely be off the hook for the bill, but he may be able to recover a judgment to repaint the house. Additionally, if the painter loses, the plaintiff may be able to recover his legal expenses.
Remedies for Breach of Contract in Arizona
When a contract is breached, the breaching party will usually have to pay monetary damages to the aggrieved party. This includes payment for monetary losses, property damage, lost revenue, reputation tarnishment, and more.
Arizona law, specifically ARS 12-341.01 allows a plaintiff to collect attorney’s fees related to a breach of contract claim. However, it also allows the defendant to collect attorney’s fees if they win the case. Under the law, the plaintiff may receive a judgment from the court and still be required to pay the defendant’s attorney’s fees.
If the defense makes an offer to the plaintiff and the plaintiff rejects that offer, forcing the litigation to continue, the plaintiff needs for the settlement to be larger than the offer. If it is not, then the plaintiff will not be considered the winning party. If the settlement award is larger than the offer, then the plaintiff is considered the winning party, and the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees are attached to the judgment. Otherwise, the defense’s attorney’s fees could be subtracted.
Talk to a Tempe, AZ, Breach of Contract Attorney Today
Singular Law Group, PLLC helps Arizona residents enforce contracts and file grievances against breaching parties. Call today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.