If you do business in North Carolina, you deal with contracts on a regular basis. Whether you are a party to a commercial lease, vendor terms, or other business agreement, there is a good chance that you will encounter a dispute or outright breach of contract at some point in time. Therefore, it is useful to know what kind of contract remedies are available to you as an aggrieved party – or what you might face on the other side. Knowing that the statute of limitations applies statute you want to figure out the details as soon as possible.
Breach of contract remedies can be complicated for numerous reasons, since there are different ways of assessing how the aggrieved party has been damaged and what would serve to resolve the losses. It is wise to retain a North Carolina litigation lawyer for assistance with your specific situation, but an overview of breach of contract remedies may be helpful.
Legal Versus Equitable Remedies: At the outset, you should understand that there are two types of remedies available in a breach of contract action.
- Legal damages, in which the non-breaching party wants to recoup the financial losses from a breach of contract; and,
- Equitable remedies, in a situation where monetary damages cannot adequately compensate the aggrieved party for breach of contract losses. Instead of a dollar amount, the court might order the breaching party do or not do some act.
In context of these descriptions, keep in mind that the type of remedies an aggrieved party might seek depends upon the goals in breach of contract litigation. The non-breaching party generally will want to return to the same position as if:
- The contract was never executed by the parties; OR,
- Both parties fully performed all of their contractual obligations.
Common Law Remedies: Today’s breach of contract principles arose out of common law, the judicial system the US inherited from the British. By North Carolina statute, the common law is in full force and effect, allowing an aggrieved party to seek the following in breach of contract litigation:
Legal Remedies: Compensatory damages are the most common recourse, where the party not in breach requests money to create the illusion of full contractual performance. The aggrieved party might also seek restitution, i.e., “restoring” the parties to their pre-contractual positions.
Equitable Remedies: There are multiple forms of relief in equity for breach of contract, including:
- Specific performance, where a court orders the breaching party to deliver goods, provide service, or otherwise uphold its contractual obligations; and,
- Rescission, in which the court cancels the contract entirely and returns the parties to the pre-contractual status quo;
- Reformation of the contract and rewriting it to that both parties are in a position to perform their modified obligations.
Other Sources of Breach of Contract Remedies: In addition to the above, you should note that other remedies may be available depending on the subject matter of the contract or other factors. For instance, North Carolina’s Uniform Commercial Code covers breach of contract between sellers and buyers who are merchants. Plus, the contract itself may dictate remedies, such as where it provides for liquidated damages in the event of breach.
A North Carolina Litigation Attorney Can Explain Breach of Contract Remedies
Regardless of whether you need to seek your contractual remedies or are defending allegations of breach, it is essential to retain experienced legal counsel for assistance. For more information on how our team can help, please call Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. at 704.864.6751 or via our website. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and determine how to proceed. Our firm serves individuals and business entities throughout North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina from our offices in Gastonia, NC.