BREACH OF CONTRACTS SAN JOSE
A LEADING BUSINESS ATTORNEY SAN JOSE LAW FIRM
A business litigator in San Jose specializing in breach of contracts commonly represents people to help defend or enforce their contracts. Many clients come to our contract lawyer after a client or customer has refused to pay for goods or services. Then, we have to review the basics of the situation with the client, including any bills, contracts and correspondence on the issue. Our contract lawyers will discuss the matter in detail with the client before the client can make the decision of whether a lawsuit or arbitration is the right next step to take in their case. Important things to consider include the clarity of the contract and the exact actions of the parties involved. Some contracts are not clear on certain issues and then additional work may be needed to assert rights under those contracts. Sometimes, the lack of clarity in a contract may not be fatal and can be fixed by using evidence outside the contract, or the past dealings of the parties.
Even if a contract is breached, filing a lawsuit or arbitration is a big step and must be handled by reputable law attorneys. There are significant expenses to filing any lawsuit or arbitration. Alternative steps to resolve the dispute are usually something a client should at least consider before initiating the formal legal process for a client. If the opposing party is completely unresponsive, then a lawsuit or arbitration may be necessary.
Types of contracts that I’ve advised clients on or represented in lawsuits or arbitration:
- Employment Agreements
- Shareholder Agreements
- Partnership Agreements
- Franchise Agreements
- Trademark Licensing Agreements
- Patent Licensing Agreements
- Settlement Agreements
- Services contracts (including for software, software support, IT support)
- Goods Contracts (including sales of items, such as electronics)
- Promissory Notes, or Loans
- Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Website Development Agreements
- Independent Contract Agreement
- Conference Agreements
- Facility Use Agreements
Often, clients contact our San Jose attorney due to contract disputes, breaches of contract, failure to pay money or failure to deliver the goods or services promised. For commerce to occur, it is critical that people be able to exchange money for goods and services to allow everyone to obtain the goods and services they desire. It is also critical for those providing goods/services to be paid for their labor and materials.
Dealing with parties who have breached contracts is a big part of our business. Our San Jose contract lawyer can deal with it from negotiating a resolution before any court filing to court filing should informal negotiations prove fruitless. As the leading breach of contract attorney in San Jose, I advise clients with an eye to practical solutions based on the amount at issue and the potential solutions.
Some clients contact our contract attorney after they have a contract dispute. Sometimes we are still able to resolve their problems and sometimes the delay has made the ability to assist the potential client much more difficult. Those clients who wish to minimize their disputes will often use an attorney proactively to review potential contracts that are of sufficient magnitude to warrant it. The question then arises, what is a large enough contract to contact a contract attorney about? One suggestion is contracts worth $10,000 should be reviewed by an attorney. Why? Because individuals can sue for contracts up to $10,000 in small claims in California.
The $10,000 threshold is also large enough that it makes sense to have a contract attorney review such a contract. Sometimes, I’ll review smaller value contracts, but generally the contracts I deal with are for larger amounts. Of course, this dollar threshold might be too low for some businesses that have millions in revenue. As a breach of contract attorney in San Jose, I advise that if the deal went bad and you would call an attorney, then a client should call before it goes bad.
Breach of contract disputes come from a variety of sources. Some examples are people who sell high-end or expensive equipment, like factory machines, servers, vehicles, homes, businesses and are not paid for those items. Other times, it is a lack of payment for services, such as software development, contract labor, professional services (such as lawyers, doctors). Many disputes also revolve around franchise businesses such as trying to exit or enter into a franchise agreement. Real estate can also come up as a source of breach of contracts from both a landlord and tenant point of view in terms of failure to pay rent.
Has your San Jose firm handled breach of contract cases involving businesses?
Yes. Our firm handles breach of contract cases on a regular basis. Although we are based in San Jose and most of our cases are in Santa Clara County Courts, we have also handled cases in Alameda County, San Mateo County, San Francisco County, and Contra Costa County in the local area. Due to technology and phone court appearances and electronic filing, even handling a case far from our office is not a problem. Breach of contract cases come about in various forms, here are some examples of common types of cases that we see.
1. Nonpayment for Goods/services.
A common scenario is a business delivers goods/services and is not paid by the customer. This non-payment is a very common scenario. We have represented both the Plaintiffs (the party filing a lawsuit) and the Defendant (the party being sued).
2. Nondelivery of goods/services or defective products/services.
Another common scenario is a failure to deliver the goods/services promised or problems with the goods or services.
3. Royalty Agreements
We have also dealt with breaches of license agreements for intellectual property, like failure to pay royalties.
4. Lease Agreements for Commercial Property
Similarly, breach of contract cases involving real estate (usually commercial properties) for non-payment of rent or defending claims for damages allegedly caused by the tenant.
5. Breach of Shareholder Agreement.
Failure to pay profits to a shareholder is a legal claim that we have dealt with.
6. Breach of a Promissory Note.
Lending money and not being repaid is a huge cause of legal issues. So much so, we have written a whole blog entry about Loans, click here.
Thinking about making a loan?
DON’T DO IT. This is the simple answer. Our San Jose contract lawyers get calls and emails from existing and potential clients (before and after) money has been lent to either businesses or relatives all the time. The number of legal disputes caused by individuals or small businesses lending money is quite high.
Here are common situations that I see.
- Lending money to a relative because they are unemployed.
- Lending money to a business.
- Lending money to invest in a business.
The problem with most of these situations is that often the lender is unaware of how to determine whether they are making an educated decision to loan money or in reality making a gift.
Here are some Common Red Flags that might be cause for concern when lending money.
- Banks or other professional lenders refuse to lend money.
- They are past due on bills, credit cards, in foreclosure.
- They are unemployed.
- They promise to return the money in under 1 year.
- They promise more than 10% interest over a year (may also be an improper interest rate unless an exception applies in California).
- The Parties are in a romantic relationship.
- The Parties are in an employer/employee relationship (a whole different set of rules applies here).
- They don’t provide you with tax returns, paystubs, or banking information to see their income, assets or liabilities.
- Lawsuits or bankruptcy filings.
- No security (real estate is best) is also a concern.
- Business has been open for less than 3 years.
- Business does not have (or does not provide) full financial statements and tax returns.
- Business does not have bank statements to support financial statements.
- Business owner refuses to personally guarantee money lent to be repaid.
- Business is not profitable.
- Lawsuits or bankruptcy filings.
- No security (real estate is best) is also a concern.
- No specific need for the money, meaning the borrower simply tells you it will be used for general corporate purposes.
- The business is private.
- The businesses has less than 20 employees.
Lender Red Flags.
This list is intended to list out the type of persons/companies that should not be lending money to others.
- You are not an “accredited” investor. The definition is set by the SEC, https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/news-alerts/alerts-bulletins/investor-bulletin-accredited-investors
This means that for individuals you need to make $200,000 or more for the last 2 years and expect the same for this year ($300,000 if married) or you have $1 million in net worth excluding your primary residence.
- You need the money back in under 2 years, often people promise that you will get the money back in 6 months or less and this is a red flag.
- You need the money for expected expenses or daily living.
- Do not lend more than you can afford to lose.
- If the money lent would be more than 50% of your annual income.
Still want to lend someone money?
Then give us a call, we can discuss your situation with you. Ultimately, it will be your decision, but having contract attorneys review the proposed loan, any proposed security, the borrower’s financial status can often provide important insight. Many lawsuits that I have seen would have been avoided or at least the risk minimized had a borrower consulted an attorney before lending money.
Have you lent someone money and they failed to repay you?
Our breach of contract attorney in San Jose can discuss your options with you, including seeking resolution of the claims before filing suit (assuming the other party will work with us). We can also advise on next steps should informal resolution not work and a lawsuit is necessary. Please be aware that the law limits the time you have to file suit depending on the type of claims that would be made. The statute of limitations must be determined on an individual basis, but generally if there is no written agreement, then in California you are likely to have 2 years to sue, and if there is a written agreement 4 years.
*Please note that this information was reasonable accurate at time of publication, but subsequent laws may change. Consult a lawyer for current information.
Breach Of Contracts FAQs
What Damages Are Available When There Is A Breach Of Contract?
Several types of breach of contract are possible, and various factors determine the damages entitled to you, including contract terms, the type of breach, and more. These determinants are set to compensate parties if a contract is violated and deter parties from breaking the initial signed agreement. Our breach of contract attorney in San Jose can accurately advise you on which damages are appropriate for your case and ensure you’re adequately compensated.
Recover Compensatory Damages in Contract Law
You may be eligible for compensatory damages when damages are monetary in nature. They are the result of the violation of a contract and are designed to compensate the non-breaching party. Seeking the assistance of our San Jose reputable contract lawyer helps ensure you receive adequate compensation for losses.
Expectation Damages in Contract Law
Expectation damages compensate the injured party for what they reasonably expected to gain but were not able to in the transaction as agreed. This type of compensation is calculated by a breach of contract attorney in San Jose based on the contract’s terms or market values.
Regardless of the contract breach cause, seeking the assistance of a breach of contract attorney in San Jose can ensure you are compensated for what you’re lawfully owed.
What Is A Material Breach Of Contract In San Jose?
A breach of contract in San Jose occurs when one party does not fulfill their obligation as agreed. There are two main types, a minor and a material breach. A material breach also called a total breach, occurs when there is a significant violation of the terms of the contract.
Although breaches generally only hold one party liable, this type of breach can affect both parties due to possible disputes, potentially leading to a lawsuit. An example of a material breach of contract in San Jose is when the buyer completes the paperwork and pays the seller at closing, but the seller does not provide the deed to the property or the keys. If informal resolution attempts fail, you may need the representation of a breach of contract attorney in San Jose to handle material breaches.
What Is An Immaterial Breach Of Contract According To A San Jose Contract Lawyer?
A minor breach, otherwise known as an immaterial breach, is when the breaching party fails to fulfill an insignificant portion of their obligations and does not deal with the essence of the contract. An immaterial breach does not cause true harm and relates to minor, administrative, technical, and ministerial issues.
Examples include when goods are delivered late or when a mispayment of an insignificant number was made. Although these mistakes are disruptive and may cause some inconvenience, they don’t impede the contract from being fulfilled.
Want To Connect With A Top San Jose Contract Attorney?
If you need counsel on damages for breach of contract, working with a reputable breach of contract attorney in San Jose is the best way to approach your case. At Nick Heimlich Law, you will have a team of contract attorneys available to promptly take the best course of action and ensure the most beneficial resolution.