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Specific Performance And Contractual Disputes


When business owners come together and enter into contracts for goods or services, each party to the contract is expected to deliver something to the other party, and a failure to do so can constitute a breach of contract. The remedy for a breach of contract can be damages that are either calculated from the losses sustained by one party, or that are specified in the contract. However, in some cases, the damages may not be enough to address the breach of contract.

In cases where a breach of contract cannot be addressed by the payment of damages, a court handling the case may order the party in breach to deliver or perform as required under the terms of the parties’ contract. This is referred to as specific performance under contract law. In order for a party to claim or invoke specific performance in a contract dispute, the party has to show that he was willing to complete his part of the bargain or had substantially performed as required under the contract before the other party refused to do his part.

Courts are not always willing to order specific performance, and if this is the remedy sort, the plaintiff has to make sure that he proves that he shows that without the other party being compelled to perform under the contract he will not be made whole. If the contract the parties entered into was for goods that are hard to come by or unique in nature the court would be more likely to consider granting specific performance. Courts do not often grant specific performance in cases where the contract was for the delivery of services. In granting specific performance, the court looks to determine if justice will be done in granting that remedy instead of awarding the plaintiff monetary damages.

In some cases, it is possible for a plaintiff to seek both specific performance and monetary damages if the claim is based on the same facts. In such a case, the court would be left with the option of granting whichever remedy the court decides serves to further fairness and correcting the inequity caused by the defendant’s breach of contract. It is not possible for the plaintiff to be awarded damages and the defendant ordered to perform under the contract through specific performance. This would constitute a windfall for the plaintiff. If the parties agreed to separate monetary penalties for a breach of contract, then the plaintiff may be awarded these damages in addition to being granted the remedy of specific performance.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Contract disputes arising from non-performance of a contractual obligation can cause delays and loss of profit to a business. The decision to pursue a monetary remedy or specific performance depends on what the plaintiff ultimately wants to get after filing a lawsuit for the breach of contract. Before making a decision, it is important to speak to a business attorney. For a free consultation, contact an experienced contract dispute attorney at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida.