Are You Being Sued for Breach of Contract? Our Dallas Business Litigation Attorneys Can Help
Business and employment contracts are complicated. It is not uncommon for disputes to arise regarding the interpretation of certain terms. Misunderstandings and misinterpretations happen. If your Texas company is being sued for breach of contract, you may be feeling frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed by the prospects of litigation.
You may even be upset that the other party is filing an illegitimate lawsuit. While this is all entirely normal and understandable, at this time it is imperative that you stay clear-headed so that you can take the proper steps to protect the financial interests of your business.
You cannot ignore a breach of contract lawsuit. It is not going to go away on its own. In addition, you should not respond angrily to the other party. You need to act carefully to protect your business. In this article, our experienced Dallas contract law attorneys highlight the most important things that individuals and business owners need to know about breach of contract lawsuits in Texas.
Protect Your Business: Three Things You Should Do When Being Sued for Breach of Contract
Understand the Breach of Contract Allegations
From the moment you receive notification that your business is being sued for breach of contract, it is time to take action. You should carefully review the specific claims within the lawsuit. You need to fully understand exactly why you or your business is being sued for a breach. If you are having any trouble understanding the allegations, you should consult with a qualified Dallas business law attorney.
Note: You should generally avoid making direct contact with the party who is filing the lawsuit. As tempting as this can be, once a lawsuit has been filed, things should be handled formally. In most cases, you are much more likely to cause yourself or your business additional problems. It is best to work with the other party through your legal representative.
Organize All Relevant Documents and Records
Breach of contract lawsuits are document-intensive. One of the best things you can do to protect your rights is to gather and organize all documents and records that might potentially be related to the lawsuit. To start, you need to get your copy of the contract. In addition, you should also gather any and all correspondence that you had with the other party. Even seemingly casual e-mails could potentially be useful. The bottom line: the more documentation you can present to your contract law attorney, the better off you will be.
Consult With a Dallas Contract Litigation Attorney
Once you have reviewed the breach of contract allegations and assembled all of your records, it is time to consult with a skilled Texas contract litigation lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to conduct an in-depth review of your case. It is important to work with a legal professional who can prepare a fully individualized defense strategy.
In some cases, the best breach of contract defense strategy is to aggressively fight the claim. In other cases, negotiation may be a better tactic. The appropriate legal strategy will always depend on the specific circumstances on your case. For example, you would likely not want to litigate a breach of contract lawsuit if the other party’s claim has validity. Likewise, you do not want to end up in a nasty, fiercely contested legal battle with a company that you want to work with in the future. On the other hand, you should not agree to settle or negotiate if the other party is filing a breach of contract lawsuit in bad faith.
What are the Defenses to a Breach of Contract Lawsuit?
There are many different defenses available in breach of contract cases. To start, the lawsuit filed against you or your company may be invalid because you actually fulfilled all of the terms of the agreement. Beyond that, there are also several ‘affirmative defenses’ available in breach of contract cases. In American law, an affirmative defense is a defense that, if established as true, mitigates the consequences of a breach.
This means you could ‘technically’ be in breach of the terms of a contract, but might not actually be liable for any damages. Your breach would be excused. Some of the most common affirmative defenses to breach of contract include:
- Mutual Mistake: A mutual mistake occurs when both parties to a contract share a mistaken belief over a material issue. Mutual mistakes can invalidate an agreement.
- Revocation: If a party revoked a contract offer prior to it being officially agreed upon, the contract may have never been formed in the first place.
- Reputation: If the party filing the breach of contract previously repudiated the agreement, then you can raise that as a defense.
- Lack of Capacity: For a contract to be legally enforceable, all parties must have legal capacity to sign the agreement. In business law cases, this type of conflict might arise when an employee makes a deal on behalf of their company without the authority to do so.
- Lack of Consideration: Not all promises are legally enforceable. Real obligations must be imposed on both parties for a valid contract to be formed.
- Unclean Hands: If the plaintiff also breached the contract in some manner, they may not be able to bring a valid lawsuit based on the agreement.
- Misrepresentation: If your contract was based on fraud or material misrepresentations by the other party, the deal may be invalid.
- Illegality: Not all contracts are enforceable. Certain agreements are illegal, and thus unenforceable, as a matter of Texas state law or federal regulations.
- Failure to Mitigate: When a contract breach occurs, the non-breaching party has a legal obligation to mitigate their damages. The breaching party cannot be held liable for damages that should have been mitigated.
Contact Our Dallas Contract Litigation Attorneys Today
At Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP, our Texas business litigation lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide range of contract law issues. If your company is being sued for breach of contract, we can help defend your legal rights and business interests.
To set up a fully confidential review of your legal case, please call us today at 214-857-6071 or contact us through our website. With an office in Dallas, we represent companies throughout the region, including in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County, Collin County, Rockwall County, and Johnson County.