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How to Sue for Breach of Contract

breach-of-contractA breach of contract occurs when a party fails to uphold obligations specified in a written agreement. If you’ve suffered financial harm due to a breach of contract, you may be entitled to recover compensation under New York law.

Before you file a lawsuit, your attorney will work with you to determine the key issues and evidence of your case. For example, you should consider whether the dispute could be resolved through mediation or if a formal settlement might serve to compensate you rather than going to court.

If you and your lawyer decide that litigation is the best course of action, here’s what you should know about how to sue for breach of contract.

What Factors Will the Court Consider?

In determining breach of contract, a judge will look for evidence that the other party deprived you of the core value of the contract that was breached. If the other party has violated an agreement in a way that does not constitute such a “material” breach, the court may find that the action in fact was not breach of contract.

The court also will consider whether you can be made whole with a reasonable effort by the defendant while keeping the remainder of the agreement intact. In other words, if the defendant can rectify the problem, the court may not agree to cancel the contract in question.

In addition, your attorney and the defense will present evidence regarding what, if anything, the defendant already has done to comply with the contract. If the defendant has not complied, what will be the projected costs of compliance? The specific language of the agreement also will play a role in the decision on whether breach of contract occurred.

Filing a Claim for Breach of Contract

The New York State Court of Claims has jurisdiction over breach of contract cases, and the court provides rules for filing lawsuits. The court requires filing of breach of contract cases to occur within six months of “accrual,” or the date of the alleged failure to honor the terms of the contract.

If you decide to sue for breach of contract, your attorney can assist you in filing the proper paperwork, including the notice of intention to file a claim. The notice is optional in the legal filing process but can give you and your legal team more time to prepare your lawsuit. Typically, formal serving of the notice to the defendant extends the filing deadline to two years from accrual.

Missing the filing deadline for the case may mean requesting permission from the court for a late filing. If you miss the deadline, your attorney will submit the appropriate paperwork to request an extension.

After lawsuit preparation is complete, your attorney will file the claim along with the appropriate filing fee. The chief clerk of the court will issue a letter noting receipt of the claim and assigning a claim number. The clerk also will notify your attorney of the judge who will hear the case.

Litigating Your Breach of Contract Case

You will need a dedicated attorney to continue to shepherd your breach of contract case through the court system, including attending hearings, presenting evidence and arguments, and negotiating a possible settlement as appropriate.

To discuss your case with an experienced breach of contract attorney, please contact Gertler Law Group, LLC.