Baltimore Contract Dispute Attorney
Ken C. GauveyPersonal Injury Attorney
Contracts are a regular part of our lives even if we are not in the business world. However, if you are in the business world, then you know that most if not all of your business revolves around a contract. While some contracts may be simple and we may not even realize we are entering into them, others are complicated and intricate. Still, when there is a problem with a contract you may find that you don’t understand all the complicated legal terms and jargon. Contract disputes are relatively common, and if you are in a business, they are expected. However, do not let a contract dispute derail your business. Ken Gauvey has experience resolving contract disputes with businesses, employers, vendors, contractors and private parties, he makes it his business to protect your interests.
What is a Contract?
Maryland contract law allows parties to agree to be bound by the terms of a contract. Under Maryland law, a contract consists of a legally binding agreement or promise between parties. In most cases, a contract can either be written or oral, although some contracts require that there be a writing in order for the terms to be enforceable. It is essential that a contract is voluntarily made and entered into, and in addition, a contract must be supported by some form of consideration, meaning that the parties must exchange something of value. According to Blacks Law Dictionary a contract is defined as follows:
“An agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are enforceable or otherwise recognizable at law.”
As the definition points out there are parts of a contract, these elements are essential to a contract and are as follows:
1. There must be Competent Parties – People who wish to enter into a contract must do so freely and without being coerced to do so. In addition, certain contracts are unenforceable against minors who are under the age of 18. Certain parties would not be considered competent to enter into a contract including, minors & those found to be mentally incapacitated.
2. Offer – An offer is a proposal to either do or pay something. It is accompanied by a commitment and the offer must be communicated to the other party and must contain conditions or terms. An offer can be either accepted, denied or there can be a counter-offer.
3. Acceptance – The terms of the contract must be agreed upon mutually. An offer is made, understood by both parties and accepted. Both parties must agree to the same thing and this is sometimes referred to as “a meeting of the minds”.
4.Consideration – Each party must gain something through the contract. If one party agrees to do something they must gain something in return. (Note: This “gain” can be very small: the requirement is generally satisfied if the other party is required to do anything under the contract.)
5. Performance – Fulfillment of an obligation stated in the contract. If done correctly can signify the end of the contract, if done partially or incorrectly can lead to a lawsuit.
What are the Remedies for a Breach of Contract?
When there has been a breach of a contract there are several different options that the court deems sufficient to remedying the parties. It is a principle of contract law that the courts are not looking to punish a wrongdoer, but are simply trying to put the parties back in the situation and place they would have been had the contract not been entered into. Therefore, in the event of a breach of contract, there are several damages or remedies that the court can impose.
• Compensatory damages – compensatory damages are those monetary damages that are again intended to make the non-breaching party whole again. Generally, there are two types of compensatory damages, expectation damages, and consequential damages. Expectation damages are intended to cover what the injured party expected to receive from the contract. Whereas, consequential damages are those that are intended to reimburse the injured party for their indirect damages other than the actual loss of a contract. For example, if the parties knew that one party needed to have an order of parts so that that party could finish a project on time, and as a result of the first party failing to deliver the parts the second party lost the contract, then the second party may be entitled to consequential damages.
• Liquidation damages – some contracts will include a clause known as a liquidated damages clause in which the contract will state what the monetary damages will be in the event that one party breaches the contract.
• Punitive damages – Punitive damages are relatively rare in a contract and are rarely enforceable, but they are sometimes placed in contracts to punish a breaching party from committing future breaches.
• Nominal damages – nominal damages are more a sign that one party was wrong and another party was right, rather than a true form of compensation. Often nominal damages will be as low as a dollar. These damage types are awarded when the parties have not incurred an actual monetary loss, but the judge wants to show that one party was correct.
There are other additional remedies for a breach of contract. However, one that often comes up in the course of conversation is specific performance. Many people simply want the other party to do what they said that they were going to do. However, specific performance orders, wherein a court decrees that the breaching party is to do something are relatively rare, and may not be available when the performance is something artistic such as requiring a famous painter to paint your portrait or requiring a sports star to perform in the next game.
How Can an Attorney Help in a Contract Dispute?
If you find yourself in the middle of a contract dispute you may be wondering how an attorney can help you. There are many instances where an attorney can use their education and experience to help all parties come together to resolve a contract dispute. An attorney can also help from the inception of a contract to avoid any potential disputes. Attorneys can help in the following:
• Protect business owners from lawsuits between parties according to Maryland contract law.
• Provide clear guidelines between businesses and their contractors.
• Help business owners maintain good relationships between themselves and their contractors.
• Eliminate the need for court appearances and costly lawsuits related to Maryland contract law issues.
Because contracts can be very confusing and difficult it helps to have an attorney at your side every step of the way. However, if you find yourself in the middle of a contract dispute, it is not too late.
Guidance from a Baltimore, Maryland Contract Dispute Attorney
At the Law Practice of Ken Gauvey, we help our clients with all matters pertaining to contracts, from formation, negotiation, renegotiation, and conflict resolution. If you are involved in a contract dispute, or simply want to know your rights under a contract contact Ken Gauvey today. Ken Gauvey has years of experience advising and assisting businesses and individuals with all matters relating to contracts. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at (410) 346-2377.