A breach of contract occurs when an agreement between two parties is not honored and any or all of the terms have been violated. When a breach of contract has occurred, the adverse party will often seek damages in order to recover losses from the contract not being honored. There are many different kinds of breach of contract violations that can occur, but one of the most common ones between a contractor and a client is when the client makes changes to what they wanted from the original agreement, resulting in higher costs on the contractor’s end, and still expecting the same price as in the contract. In other words, the client goes against the terms defined in the contract as to the scope of the work, but still expects the part about the cost to remain the same and not go up. It’s quite hypocritical for an individual to expect they can expect more than what was on the table from a contract and still expect the contracted price to be the same, but it happens quite frequently. Often times it can put a contractor in a situation where they are facing a heavy lawsuit for not fulfilling an obligation that, with the change of mind of the client, would put them in the red to fulfill.
Examples of Similar Breach of Contract Cases
John Client hires Joe Contractor, found on Yelp, Angie’s List, or worse yet, Craigslist, to build a house addition and gives him a budget of $150,000. Mr. Client and Mr. Contractor sign a contract stating that Joe Contractor will build a one floor house with 4 bedrooms, install basic appliances, wood floors, and wood tabletops. After beginning the building of the home and purchasing all the materials, Mr. Client decides he wants Mr. Contractor to install marble floors and table tops instead of wood and wants upgraded appliances instead of basic ones. Mr. Contractor wants to alter the contract to pay for these differences, but the client is refusing to understand that the wood for the floors and countertops has already been purchased and custom cut, meaning it is unable to be returned along with the appliances he wanted originally. Additionally, Mr. Client wants there to be a 5th bedroom with the addition of a second floor loft and balcony. With all these modifications, and the wasted labor and materials, Mr. Contractor’s normal rate would have Mr. Client’s costs over double the original estimate. Even if he were willing to lose out on labor and give Mr. Client the new materials at cost, he would still be $40,000 in the red from the job. Mr. Client refuses to pay the new bill and demands Mr. Contractor honor the original agreement, which has become impossible at this point to reasonably achieve.
This situation, while extreme, happens more often than you might think. While Mr. Contractor may defend himself in court without an attorney, particularly if he has a strong contract with Mr. Client and can document the reasons for the changes in cost, it’s just not worth it to risk that kind of money going at it alone. Most clients are not prepared to handle a breach of contract lawsuit of that magnitude alone. Even if they had some knowledge and preparation, an attorney is their best bet to be prepared for trial, have all their evidence documented, properly follow legal protocols, and negotiate a reasonable settlement if that becomes the best option for any reason.
Webb Law Group has extensive experience as a business law firm dealing with situations involving breach of contract cases. If your breach of contract case exceeds $25,000.00, then hiring Webb Law Group will be a step in the right direction of securing a successful outcome in your case.
Finding a Professional California Breach of Contract Attorney
Webb Law Group is a reputable business law firm with experience in matters involving California law, including handling breach of contract lawsuits. Having a reputable attorney by your side for these matters will help give you the best possible chance of a positive outcome in your case. If you feel you need legal representation, we are happy to review your legal needs and provide consultation and support where necessary.
For questions, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today at 559.431.4888 (Fresno) or 619.399.7700 (San Diego).