New York Contract Dispute Attorney

Contracts are critical for businesses. Whether it’s a supplier agreement or a merger, a contract binds two or more parties to the outlined terms and sets forth their obligations to ensure accountability. However, regardless of how well-written or executed an agreement is, contract disputes can arise. And although contract disputes are common, they are far from standard. 


If you or your company has experienced a contract dispute, you need experienced attorneys on your side. At Halperin & Halperin, P.C., our staff of lawyers will provide the legal advice, representation, and care you expect so you can focus on your business. For more information on our legal services or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

COMMON REASONS FOR CONTRACT DISPUTES

Contract disputes typically involve a breach of the contract. Namely, at least one party does not uphold the terms of the deal. These conflicts generally occur at one of two points during the contract process:

  1. During negotiations
  2. Following the contract execution

 

Commercial law often recognizes two types of disputes, as follow: 

  • Material breaches occur when actions leave contracts irreparably broken. Also known as total breaches, material breaches make it impossible to fulfill the contract terms. In many cases, the non-breaching party may even wonder why the other party signed the contract at all. Because of the severe nature of a material breach, the innocent party can seek a legal remedy for the damages. Additionally, they do not have to uphold the terms they agreed to.
    • Some material breaches can cost companies millions of dollars in damages and legal expenses. For example, a firm refusing to make payments or deliver products would constitute a material breach.
  • Minor or partial breaches do not make contracts useless. In most cases, the agreement still serves a purpose despite the breaching party’s actions. Typically, both parties must carry out the terms they agreed to; failure to do so can result in a lawsuit for damages, requesting the court to demand the breaching party to fulfill the terms outlined in their contract.

TYPES OF CONTRACT DISPUTES

Contract disputes do not just occur between two entities. Many disputes arise between employers and their workers, business partners, and managers. Vague language or allegations can lead to a suspect breach, which typically occurs with the following agreements:

  1. Non-Compete Agreements: Many businesses require their employees to sign non-compete agreements before they begin working. These contracts prevent employees from quitting their jobs to work with a competitor or starting their own business in the same industry. Such terms typically apply for a predetermined period after an employee leaves the company. 
  2. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): Like a non-compete agreement, NDAs help protect an organization from its competition. NDAs prevent buyers, suppliers, or investors from sharing trade secrets and intellectual property.
    • NDAs often come into dispute when one party accuses the other of sharing information or when an employee shares material information with third (outside) parties.
  1. Tortious Interference: Tortious interference is not necessarily a contract breach. However, the court system considers it a part of contract law. Tortious interference occurs when a third party tries to interfere with an agreement between two other parties. Both contracted individuals file a claim against the third party, thus allowing them to collect any damages caused by the tortious interference.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN REASONS FOR CONTRACT DISPUTES?

The courts only consider a contract valid under certain conditions:

  1. Both parties must agree to the terms.
  2. The individuals must accept the terms.
  3. One party must receive payment from the other in exchange for property, products, or services. 

 

That being said, disputes may occur at any time. Some common reasons include:

  • Contractual errors
  • Fraud, coercion, or bribery
  • A technical term that needs defining
  • Willful offer or acceptance
  • Contract breach

Legal methods of remedying a contract dispute:

A non-breaching party can pursue the following in a breach of contract dispute:

  • Legal Remedies: Non-breaching parties can sue for one of three types of legal solutions:
    • Compensatory damages
    • Restitution
    • Liquidated damages
  • Equitable Remedies: Equitable remedies help recover the costs involved with the breach. Court orders can force the breaching party to correct their violation. The judge may also mandate they fulfill their original obligations.

 

Some contracts even include a liquidated damages clause that the parties agree to before signing, which sets forth the amount in damages owed in the event of a contract breach.

HOW TO AVOID A CONTRACT DISPUTE DURING CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS:

No one wants to go through the frustration of contract disputes, breaches, and litigation. Even so, some conflicts seem impossible to avoid. However, the negotiating parties can help prevent disagreements by taking the following measures during preliminary contract negotiations.

 

  1. Document Negotiations: Document your negotiations to help clarify terms throughout the process. Keep records of the offer’s history, terms and conditions, and other relevant details such as pricing.
  2. Clarify Goals: Before the negotiations begin, determine the goals of the contract. Both parties should state their expectations. You may even choose to provide points to negotiate together.
  3. Define Terms: Ensure that the two parties understand industry terms and legal jargon used in the contract before signing. Failure to do so could result in an unintended breach of contract.
  4. Work with Experienced Contract Attorneys: Many business owners, employees, and executives may feel comfortable handling a contract negotiation or dispute. However, we recommend consulting with an experienced attorney to ensure your rights and obligations are clear. Our contract lawyers at Halperin & Halperin, P.C. can help identify vague phrasing in the terms and negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement, thus reducing the risk of a contract dispute in the future.

DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR CONTRACT DISPUTES?

A contract attorney can often help during contract negotiation, drafting, and signing. They can also represent your business before a judge if a breach or dispute occurs. That being said, not all disputes go to trial. Depending on the circumstances and relationship between the parties, alternative dispute resolutions, such as arbitration or mediation, can be effective in resolving contract disputes.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) occurs when parties in a dispute agree to settle outside of court. There are several different forms of alternative dispute resolutions, including mediation and arbitration.

Mediation and Arbitration: Many involved in contract disputes choose mediation or arbitration for a positive outcome. During the arbitration process, an arbitrator hears from both sides. Then, they make a decision regarding the breach. Like a trial, both sides share evidence and testimony; however, this process is typically less expensive and results in a faster verdict. Mediators do not make a decision. Instead, the mediation process helps the parties work toward an agreement. A trained mediator meets with both sides to assist in resolving the breach or dispute and find a fair solution.

  • Because of the cooperative approach, mediation results in a written settlement more than 80% of the time. Mediating a contract dispute can also avoid the expenses and burdens of formal lawsuits and help achieve a satisfying resolution made in good faith. 

 

LitigationIn the case of a contract dispute, resolving your case through litigation would entail choosing a contract dispute attorney, extensive pre-trial preparations/court proceedings, and a comprehensive multi-staged trial followed by jury deliberations and a verdict. Litigation is typically the longest and most expensive method of settling a contract dispute and it is typically reserved for when other types of resolutions have failed. 

CONTRACT LAW SERVICES AT HALPERIN & HALPERIN, P.C.

At Halperin & Halperin, P.C., our staff of civil and commercial litigation attorneys have served our clients for more than 40 years. Whether you’re involved in a contract dispute or want a lawyer to guide you through a new deal, you can trust our experienced team of attorneys to protect your interests. Call us at 212-935-2600 or fill out our form online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our expert commercial litigation attorneys. 

 

Halperin & Halperin, P.C.

18 East 48th Street, Suite 1001

New York, NY 10017

Phone: (212) 935-2600 | Email: reception@halperinlawyers.com