What is a breach of contract?
Consider the term ‘breach’ synonymous with break, just like a broken word. Breach of contract can be defined as a broken contract, stemming from failure to fulfill any term of a contract without a justifiable, lawful excuse
How does a breach of contract impact an employer?
Contract can waste both money and time, and certainly lead to frustration for everyone involved.
Ir is important to note that not all breaches are created equal. In most cases, if you want to move forward with a breach of contract suit, it needs to meet the criteria set by the following four breaches:
- A material breach–failure to perform one’s duties as set in the contract-is considered one of the most serious, and allows the injured employer to seek damages in court
- Fundamental breaches also often end up in court, as this kind of violation allows the aggrieved employer to stop performance of the contract and sue for damages.
- An anticipatory breach allows one person to say the contract is broken when it becomes evident the other party will not execute his or her end of the contract within the allotted time
- A minor breach is a partial breach. A friend builds a website for you; he gets the site done on time but there are problems with the site. While an employer cannot sue for a partial job but the employer may be able to force the IT person to make the corrections.
Regardless of the type of Contract breach, one needs to establish the following before taking the matter to court:
- The contract existed. Yes
- The contract was broken. Yes
- You lost money. Yes by reason that if the Money paid to the employee required that the employee reside within 30 minutes of White Springs in order for her to perform the duties of Town Manager; It may be mentioned that the money paid was in excess of any and all other Town managers who resided either in White Springs or within 30 minutes therein. Therefore, the town paid a high salary that they would not have possibly paid, had the employee elected to remain only for a four day week and commute. As a result, the Employee had no interest in the community and could not perform Land Development Regulations or even know where there were violations because of disinterest or lack of participation in economic development of the Town..
- The defendant (Stacy Tebo who you’re challenging) was responsible. Yes
Where there is a right, there is a remedy
There are remedies available no matter what kind of contract breach was experienced.
- Compensatory damages pay money to reimburse costs and compensate for losses.
- Consequential and incidental damages are generally awarded if everyone involved was aware of potential losses in case of a breach when the contract was signed or accepted.
- Liquidated damages are agreed damages specified in the contract.
- Punitive damages, or money given as retribution, are for offensive behavior or actions from the defendant (rare in breach of contract cases).
- Attorney’s fees are recoverable as damages in contract cases when expressly included in the contract or authorized by statute.
Sometimes there’s more than money involved in breaches of contract. These cases also have common remedies, which include:
- Specific performance, a court order for the employee to follow through with the initial agreement
- Rescission, which is when the contract is canceled, any money returned, and the matter dropped as if it never happened
- Reformation, achieved when the contract is re-written to better suit the actual intention of the contract-essentially a ‘do-over’
The options for remedies are often included in the contract itself. Before considering legal action in a breach of contract case, it might be wise to carefully review the initial contractual agreement and look for any limitations or requirements to avoid unintentionally waiving contract remedies.
Breach of contract disputes are likely among the most common legal suits in today’s courts because they can potentially impact an employer. No matter whether you are dealing with contract fraud, nonpayment claims or even failure to comply with a non-disclosure agreement, it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Knowing your rights, options and legal remedies can make dealing with breaches of contracts a little less painful.
Another aspect relates to Stacy Tebo and all other employees in the State of Florida. All are at will employees meaning that an employer can terminate their employment at any time, for any cause, with or without notice. That is why Ms. Tebo required a severance package so that if she is terminated she would receive a three month salary or $13,500; however, in the case of Ms. Tebo breaching her employment contract, it would seem that her contract is null and void by reason of her lack of performing her end of the bargain. Therefore, the Town should not have any responsibility of complying with the severance terms of the contract and yet has the rights of law regulating an at-will employee on its side. Since I am not an attorney nor do I profess to be an attorney, it would be wise if the town provide the information to an employment attorney.
However, if the Town officials knew and have known and have facilitated this breach of contract, providing favors to one employee, that are not given to other employees, then there is a Breach of Fiduciary Duties by any or all officials who had such knowledge and each responsible may be impeached.
Karin for the blog
Reference: Find Law; Rocket Lawyer