Nashville Business Contract Lawyer
Contracts are binding documents that are enforceable by law. If you’re a business owner, you most likely encounter contracts all the time: you may have contracts with your employees, vendors, landlords, banks, customers, or other creditors. What differentiates a contract from a simple agreement is the fact that it imposes legal obligations on both parties. If one member of a contract doesn’t hold up his or her end of the deal, the other can collect damages or remedies.
Formation of Contracts
At Larry R. Williams, PLLC, we draft contracts that are enforceable by the courts. To pass legal scrutiny, a contract must have several aspects:
- In a contract agreement, each party must promise something in exchange for something else. For example, an employee may agree to fulfill their work responsibilities in exchange for specific wages and benefits.
- An Offer and Acceptance. Every contract must have a clear offer to the prospective party (i.e. an offer of employment) and an acceptance (an agreement to be an employee).
- Lawful Purpose. The contract itself must comply with all applicable laws. For example, you can’t draw up a contract to kill someone or charge interest fees on a loan above and beyond what is allowed by the law.
- Capable Parties. For a contract to be legally binding, each party must be capable of understanding its terms. For example, the law presumes minors and those who have been clinically diagnosed as mentally unfit can’t know what they’re doing, so contracts involving such parties can’t be enforced.
- Mutual Assent. This assumes each party agrees to the terms of the contract.
Effectively disputing a contract requires the help of a legal expert. When one party suddenly doesn’t agree to the terms of a contract, the court refers to it as a breach. Whether you’re the one attempting the breach, or if you wish to recover damages for someone else’s breach, we can help. In general, there are two types of contract breaches:
A material breach refers to a failure to uphold a contract, one that hinges on the agreement being “irreparably broken,” rendering the contract null. If there is a material breach, the opposing party can end the agreement and attempt to collect damages from the breacher. For example, if you bought a particular car, and your contract stipulated you would receive that exact vehicle, but you received something else, you may be eligible to collect damages from a material breach.
This type of breach occurs when a party indicates, either through words or actions, that he or she is not going to fulfill the terms spelled out by your agreement. Once this breach happens, it’s known as repudiation. Once a party repudiates on a deal, the other party is entitled to end the agreement and seek damages or other recompense.
Resolving a Contract Breach
Being involved in a contract dispute can be a source of distress to any business owner. If you think another party isn’t holding up his or her end of the deal, delivering a notice of breach is the first step in resolving the matter. This letter is a formal document that outlines why you think there’s been a breach and how you want to resolve it; either by ending the contract and seeking damages or by fixing the issue.
On the other hand, you may be on the receiving end of a breach of contract. In these cases, our firm is skilled in devising what are known as “affirmative defenses.” These do more than simply deny wrongdoing; they provide a plausible reason for the (perceived) breach.