America has the reputation of being the most litigious country in the world. The common belief is that you can sue or be sued for anything. This is, in fact, not true and by that we mean you cannot sue or be sued for anything. In order to file a civil lawsuit in New York, there are basic requirements that you must satisfy.
Elements of a Breach of Contract Case
In a breach of contract case, the following elements must be established even before a case proceeds to trial:
- A valid and enforceable contract exists;
- The plaintiff’s performance of the contract;
- The alleged breach by the defendant; and
- Damages or remedies being sought.
You must have evidence in the form of documents and witnesses to prove each one of these elements. If the evidence is not enough, the person or business you are suing can seek to have the case dismissed without a trial.
Proof of Existence of a Contract
The first question to be answered in a breach of contract case is whether you have an agreement between you and the person you are suing. The agreement should clearly state what has been agreed to between you and other party, The agreement can be in writing or oral. However, even though some oral agreements can be enforced in court, there are situations where you must have an agreement in writing.
When You Must Have Agreement in Writing
New York Statutes of Fraud law provides that one must have a contract in writing in the following situations:
- Contracts involving real property;
- Contracts assuming responsibility for another person or entity’s financial obligations;
- Contracts that cannot be performed in less than one year; and
- Contracts that dispose of a gift from a will.
Exceptions to New York Statutes of Fraud
If your contract involves any of the situations listed above but you do not have it in writing, you may still be able to have it enforced as an exception to the Statutes of Fraud law. In order to succeed in doing so, you must show that there is a clear and unambiguous promise the person you are suing made and that you reasonably and foreseeably relied on it.
However, even if you show this detrimental reliance, you can only benefit from this limited exception if the court finds that not enforcing the oral agreement will be unconscionable, not just unjust or unfair.
Evidence of Performance and Breach
Once you have established that an agreement or contract exists that can be enforced in court, then the next step is to show that you performed or did what you are required to do under that agreement. You then must show that the person you are suing has not done what they were required to do under the agreement.
Damages Resulting from Breach of Contract
Upon showing that a contract exists and that the person you are suing failed to meet its terms and conditions, the last thing you must show–and convincingly so to the judge, is the dollar amount of damages you have suffered as a result. If you cannot show that you have lost money as a result of the other person not performing, your case may not even be heard at all because that is one of the elements of the case you must show from the very beginning of your case.
A Manhattan Breach of Contract Lawyer Can Help
At JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC, we have more than 25 years of experience handling a variety of issues and our lawyers know what it takes to prosecute a breach of contract case to our clients’ satisfaction. If you believe you have a case against someone, an employer or a business that has breached your contract with them, contact an experienced New York City breach of contract attorney today. Call 1-833-JOEYJACKSON or 1-833-563-9522 for an appointment.