Breach of Contract

Florence & Myrtle Beach Breach of Contract Attorneys

Contracts are used during business to create legally binding agreements between the parties. When one party violates the contract terms, they’ve engaged in a breach of contract. In some cases, a breach of contract may also include fraud allegations. The remedies and damages for fraud may be different from remedies for breach of contract. 

Breach of contract disputes and fraud claims can be complex and involve numerous legal claims. The attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA have the legal insight and business acumen needed to represent our business clients skillfully. We’ve successfully represented companies in all types of breach of contract and fraud litigation matters in state and federal courts. 

The Difference Between Contract and Tort Claims

Fraud is generally defined as the intentional misrepresentation of a material fact to entice another party to take certain actions. Additionally, fraud can occur when a party intentionally omits or fails to disclose material facts, resulting in false or misleading statements. Tort law governs claims for acts that result in harm to another party. A contract breach involving fraud is considered an intentional tort claim. 

Contact fraud occurs when one party to a contract uses false, misleading, or deceitful information when negotiating and executing the contract. When pursuing damages for fraud, the victim must prove the elements of a fraud claim. Similarly, when pursuing damages for a breach of contract, the victim must prove the elements of a breach of contract claim. 

Fraud in the Inducement

Fraud in the inducement occurs when a party to a contract provides false information. The false information must persuade the other party to agree. Suppose a car dealership falsely claimed that by signing a purchase agreement for a vehicle, the purchaser would receive free tires and oil changes the entire time he or she owned the vehicle. 

Suppose the consumer purchased the vehicle after receiving this information, and the dealership refuses to provide a free oil change at a later date. In that case, he or she may have a valid claim for fraud in the inducement. 

Fraud in the Factum

Fraud in the factum, also called fraud in the execution, occurs when a party enters a contract without understanding the duties, obligations, and risks associated with the transaction. For example, suppose someone misleads another person into signing a deed to their home by telling him or her they are signing a tax waiver. Doing so would be an example of fraud in the factum. When a court determines that fraud in the execution has occurred, the judge will often void the contract.

Is Fraudulent Misrepresentation Considered a Breach of Contract?

Fraudulent misrepresentation can involve a breach of contract. The party claiming a breach of contract has occurred must prove the legal elements of fraud in the execution or fraud in the inducement to recover compensation through a fraud claim. As a result, the party claiming fraud needs to prove the following elements:

  • A party made a representation
  • The representation was false
  • The person making the representation knew it was false when he or she made the representation
  • The party making the false representation intended for the victim to rely upon the false statement
  • The victim sustained harm for damages because of his or her reliance on the misrepresentation

Pursuing a Fraudulent Misrepresentation Claim

Most civil actions involving breach of contract and fraud begin with a demand letter for breach of contract. If the demand letter and subsequent negotiations don’t resolve the breach of contract claim, the victim may decide to pursue a civil lawsuit for breach of contract or a tort claim for fraud. Breach of contract lawsuits and fraud lawsuits are separate causes of action. 

Decades of Experience Resolving Breach of Contract Matters Involving Fraud

Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA have extensive experience representing South Carolina businesses in breach of contract claims involving fraud. Our attorneys approach every case as though it is headed to litigation. As a result of our experience working closely with companies of varying sizes in many industries, we know how to narrow down the issues. We use our business experience and legal insight to find creative ways to resolve the issue. 

Determining which cause of action to pursue in civil court can be difficult when a breach of contract claim involves fraud. Speaking to an experienced attorney to explore your legal options before you pursue a lawsuit is essential. The claims rely on different facts and circumstances. 

Pursuing two causes of action in civil court is possible, but pursuing a single cause of action is often more strategic. An attorney can help you understand the potential remedies you can recover through each type of claim. The facts in your case may better support a fraud claim than a breach of contract claim or vice versa. 

Damages Available in a Breach of Contract Claim

The amount of compensation you might obtain for a breach of contract claim depends on multiple factors, including whether your legal claim involves fraud. The damages for fraud and contract breach are different. Fraud actions necessarily involve proving wrongful intent on the defendant’s part. 

When the plaintiff can prove the defendant engaged in intentionally misleading behavior, the court may award the plaintiff additional punitive damages. On the contrary, punitive damages usually aren’t applicable in most breach of contract claims. In fraud cases, courts award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer for engaging in an intentionally tortious act. Other damages that might be awarded in a breach of contract claim include the following:

  • Compensatory (monetary) damages
  • Specific performance
  • Nominal damages
  • Liquidated damages
  • Cancellation of the contract
  • Voiding the contract
  • Quantum meruit (a reasonable amount of compensation for the work or services provided by the non-breaching party)

Discuss Your Case with Our Skilled Contract Dispute Lawyers

The attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA maximize overall value and cost-effective, strategic legal representation when representing clients in breach of contract and fraud claims. Whether your company is facing a breach of contract claim or you’ve suffered losses from another party’s breach of contract, we are prepared to advocate for you and your interests. Don’t hesitate to contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.

From law offices in Florence and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Willcox, Buyck & Williams, P.A. serves Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, Garden City, the Grand Strand, and other communities throughout Florence County, Marion County, Horry County, Darlington County, and Georgetown County.