Navigating a contract dispute or breach of contract lawsuit can be challenging. Under South Carolina law, a breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform his or her part of an agreement. Contract disputes are prevalent in the business world. In some cases, settling a contract dispute is relatively straightforward. In other instances, resolving a contract dispute involves incredibly complex business litigation.
The attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA have successfully represented many South Carolina clients in contract disputes and litigation. Businesses and individuals in Myrtle Beach and Florence have trusted our full-service, corporate law firm for over 120 years. Our experienced business attorneys regularly help clients draft advantageous, thorough contracts. When disputes arise, we assertively defend our clients in contract disputes. Our trial attorneys have the experience and legal knowledge to represent our clients in contract litigation skillfully.
Breach of Contract in South Carolina
South Carolina law recognizes both written and verbal contracts. A contract is a bargained-for exchange between two individuals or businesses. When two individuals or companies create a contract, they are promising to agree to the terms outlined in the contract. South Carolina civil courts enforce the provisions of legally valid contracts. Examples of a breach of contract include the following:
- A party communicates his or her intent to not comply with the contract
- A party refuses to perform his or her obligations under the contract
- A party violates a material term of the contract
- The actions of one party make it impossible for the other party to fulfill the contract
- The contract includes vague language, making it difficult to interpret
Resolving a Contract Dispute Through Negotiation
Not all breaches of contract are severe enough to warrant litigation. Some violations of a contract are immaterial to the desired outcome. Most business owners initially attempt to resolve the contract dispute by discussing it with the other party. In some instances, the other party may not be aware that they are not fulfilling the terms of the contract.
At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we assist our clients in attempting to negotiate contract disputes. After reviewing the facts of our client’s contract dispute and discussing our client’s goals, our client may seek to resolve the contract dispute outside of litigation. Whenever possible, we attempt to negotiate with the party who is in breach of the contract. If the other party refuses to correct the breach of contract, contract litigation may become necessary.
Resolving a Contract Dispute Through Litigation
In South Carolina, any party to a contract can file a civil lawsuit for breach of contract. Plaintiffs who bring contract dispute lawsuits must prove the following elements to succeed in litigation:
- A contract existed that is valid under South Carolina law
- The plaintiff performed his or her obligations under the contract
- The defendant breached the contract by failing to perform his or her obligations under the contract
- The plaintiff suffered injury as a result of the defendant’s breach of contract
The plaintiff must present evidence demonstrating that the defendant breached the contract and caused his or her injuries. Contract dispute litigation can quickly become expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the nature of the dispute, a trial may last months or even years. Some parties agree to settle the lawsuit before it begins or during the lawsuit itself. At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, our attorneys understand how to assertively advocate for our client’s best interests when negotiating a settlement agreement.
When settlement agreements are not available or are not advantageous, we fight hard for our clients in litigation. All of our attorneys are skilled litigators. We effectively present evidence and question witnesses in the interest of our clients. Our contract dispute attorneys represent our clients skillfully throughout the entire legal process.
If the contract requires the parties to seek mediation or arbitration to resolve contract disputes, filing a civil lawsuit may not be an option. An experienced contract litigation attorney can advise an individual or business as to whether they can file a civil lawsuit. A skilled contract dispute lawyer can help individuals determine the most advantageous next steps to take regarding their contract dispute.
Damages Available to Injured Parties in Contract Dispute Lawsuits
Successful contract dispute plaintiffs are entitled to several different types of damages, such as:
- Compensatory damages for monetary losses resulting from the breach of contract
- Consequential and incidental damages for foreseeable losses caused by the breach
- Liquidated damages guaranteed by the contract in the event of a breach of contract
- Attorney’s fees and costs when expressly required by the contract
- Reformation of the contract to change the contract to reflect the parties’ actual intention
- Recission of the contract to cancel the contract and return advanced money
- Punitive damages when a party acted in an offensive, egregious, or fraudulent manner
The Remedy of Specific Performance
The injured party in a contract dispute may be entitled to damages or specific performance based on the promises made in the contract. Specific performance is an equitable remedy used to resolve contract disputes when monetary damages are not sufficient. South Carolina courts can require a party to perform or fulfill the terms of the contract when the following conditions occur:
- A valid, legally binding and enforceable contract exists between the parties
- Monetary damages cannot sufficiently compensate the injured person
South Carolina judges often use specific performance in real estate contract disputes. If a home buyer attempts to back out after signing a valid sales agreement, a judge might require the buyer to perform his or her obligations under the contract and purchase the house.
Contact a Skilled South Carolina Contract Dispute Attorney
The consequences of a breach of contract can be devastating for businesses and individuals. Hiring skilled business law attorneys is essential for resolving contract disputes. Our attorneys also defend companies facing breach of contract lawsuits in South Carolina. If you’re facing contract dispute litigation in the Myrtle Beach or Florence area, contact our law firm to schedule your initial consultation today. One of our experienced business litigation attorneys can advise you as to your best legal options.