New York City Breach of Contract Lawyer

Companies and individuals enter into contracts virtually every day and these agreements form a crucial aspect of running and managing a business. Conceptually most contracts are fairly straightforward, they are simply agreements where one party offers to pay another for some particular goods or services. 

Some breaches of contract may be minor and be dealt with in due course without affecting your business; however, when there is a significant breach of an agreement concerning an important aspect of your business, it can have devastating effects on your company. 

Please reach us online or call (212) 684-2500 today to learn how our NYC breach of contract lawyers can help protect you and your business.

Discuss Your Case with a New York City Breach of Contract Attorney

If you are ever confronted with a breach of contract claim, it’s essential to seek help from a seasoned attorney who can help you minimize the damages and swiftly assist you to recover your losses. At Woods Lonergan, our skilled business attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in a wide range of breach of contract matters.

When Does a Breach of Contract Occur?

When a party to a contract doesn’t receive what they have bargained for from another party, a breach of contract has likely occurred. In New York, both written and oral agreements can be subject to a legitimate claim.

Claims typically involve one party not performing the contract terms as promised. Other cases involved a party failing to take action that prevented the other party from fulfilling its contractual obligations. 

Additionally, breach of contract claims can occur when one party makes it clear to the other party that they don’t intend to perform their obligations under the contract. If you believe that your business contract has already been breached or will be breached in the future, it’s crucial that you reach out to an attorney to explore your options for relief. Generally, the sooner you intervene, the better your ability to protect your business.

Common Defenses Against Breach of Contract Claims 

Defending against a breach of contract claim involves several possible defenses. Understanding these defenses can help in preparing a strong response to such claims.

Non-Performance by the Plaintiff

Arguing that the plaintiff did not fulfill their obligations. This defense asserts that the plaintiff’s failure to perform their contractual duties invalidates their claim of a breach.

Fraud or Duress

Claiming that the contract was signed under fraudulent conditions or coercion. If it can be proven that the contract was agreed upon due to deceit or undue pressure, the contract may be considered void.

Impossibility of Performance 

Asserting that unforeseen events made it impossible to fulfill the contract. This defense is applicable when circumstances beyond a party’s control render it impossible to perform their contractual obligations.


Both parties were mistaken about a fundamental aspect of the contract. This defense argues that a mutual misunderstanding regarding a critical element of the contract can lead to its invalidation.

Employing these defenses requires thorough documentation and a solid understanding of contract law. Each defense needs to be substantiated with clear evidence and legal arguments.

Consulting with experienced breach of contract attorneys in New York City can significantly enhance the effectiveness of these defenses, ensuring that your rights and interests are adequately protected.

Remedies for Breach of Contract in New York

Woods Lonergan has an in-depth knowledge of New York contract laws. After we listen to your case, we can help you understand what legal remedies may be available to you. Damages are determined towards the end of a breach of contract case. We can help you understand the types of damages to which you may be entitled. 

General Damages

Parties whom a breach of contract has injured are entitled to recover general damages and consequential damages. General damages are the natural and probable consequences of the breach of contract. In other words, general damages compensate a party for the lost benefit of its bargain. The non-breaching party needs to be put in the same economic position it would be in if the breaching party performed its obligations under the contract.

For example, when a sale of goods contract has been breached, the buyer typically recovers the difference between the contract price and the market price for the goods at the time of the breach. If the market price is lower, the buyer doesn’t have any damages, but the buyer will have damages if the market price was higher at the time of the breach. 

In some cases, the victim of a breach-of-contract can obtain lost profits that are a direct result of the breach. However, it’s important to point out that victims of a breach of contract have a duty to make a reasonable effort to mitigate their damages.

The plaintiff can also pursue reliance damages, also called sunk cost, when their damages cannot be calculated with reasonable certainty. Sunk cost damages can include the money the plaintiff spent preparing for the defendant to perform the contract and their debt obligations.

Consequential Damages

New York courts can also award consequential damages that aren’t the direct result of the breach of contract. Consequential damages include any costs caused by the breaking of the agreement due to special conditions that aren’t typically predictable.

For example, suppose the breaching party knew that they needed new furniture to be delivered on a particular day because their old furniture was going to be removed the night before. In that case, consequential damages could include payment for the expense of renting furniture until the correct furniture arrives.

Punitive Damages

When a party breaches a contract willfully, maliciously, or fraudulently, the non-breaching party can pursue additional punitive damages. Courts award punitive damages to punish the offender for egregious behavior and prevent others from acting similarly.

Types of Contract Breaches

Defending against a breach of contract claim involves several possible defenses. Here are some common types.

Actual Breach of Contract

An actual breach of contract occurs when a party fails to deliver what was promised in a binding contractual agreement. When one party only partially fulfilled their obligations, an actual breach of contract occurred. For example, suppose a business agreed to deliver 10,000 units of an item to another business on a specified date.

The business only delivered 7,000 items. In this scenario, the agreement has officially been unfulfilled, and the non-breaching party can pursue damages. 

Anticipatory Breach of Contract

When one party states that they anticipate being unable to fulfill the contract, an anticipatory breach of contract has occurred. The advance notice gives the non-breaching party time to adapt and respond. For example, a buyer may signal the seller that it can’t pay for purchased items in total.

If you anticipate a break occurring, we recommend discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand your rights should a breach concur and take steps to limit the damage to your business.

Material and Minor Breaches of Contract

The amount of damages you can recover depends on whether the breach was material or minor. Material breaches of contract occur when the bridge is substantial. For example, when a debtor fails to pay a creditor back or doesn’t honor a key element of the contract, a material breach has occurred.

Minor breaches of contract occur when a party fails to perform an element of the contract but has delivered a majority of what they promised in the contract. 

Steps to Take After a Breach Occurs

When a breach of contract occurs, it is essential to act promptly to ensure your rights are protected. 

Taking the right steps can help mitigate the impact of a breach and protect your interests. 

  • Review the Contract. Understand the specific terms and provisions related to breaches. This involves carefully reading the contract to identify what was agreed upon and what obligations have been unmet. Knowing the exact nature of the breach is critical in determining the next steps.
  • Document the Breach. Keep detailed records of how the breach occurred and its impact. This documentation should include dates, communications, and any other relevant information. Having a comprehensive record will be invaluable if you need to pursue legal action or negotiate a settlement.
  • Communicate with the Other Party. Attempt to resolve the issue through discussion or mediation. Open communication can sometimes resolve misunderstandings or disputes without the need for legal intervention. Mediation, facilitated by a neutral third party, can also be a productive way to reach an agreement.
  • Seek Legal Advice. Consult with an NYC breach of contract lawyer to explore your options. Legal advice is crucial in understanding your rights and the potential remedies available. A lawyer can help you assess the situation, negotiate with the other party, and prepare for possible legal action.
  • Consider Legal Action. If resolution is not possible, legal action may be necessary to seek damages or enforce the contract. Filing a lawsuit can be a complex process, but with the assistance of an experienced lawyer, you can navigate it effectively to protect your interests and seek appropriate compensation.

By following these steps, you can address a breach of contract proactively and effectively. And be sure to seek legal advice, even if you think a breach is minor or immaterial. The experienced NYC breach of contract lawyers at Woods Lonergan PLLC can provide the expertise and support you need, ensuring that you take the necessary measures to safeguard your rights and interests. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Breach of Contract Lawsuit in New York?

A statute of limitations is the time period within which you must file a lawsuit, after which your claim is barred. The statute of limitations for filing a breach of contract lawsuit in New York is generally six years from the date of the breach. However, it’s essential to consult with a lawyer to understand how this applies to your specific case.

Can I Sue for a Breach of an Oral Contract?

Yes, you can sue for a breach of an oral contract in New York. However, proving the terms and existence of the contract can be more challenging than with a written agreement. Certain types of contracts, such as those involving real estate, must be in writing to be enforceable.

Can Mediation or Arbitration Be Used to Resolve a Breach of Contract Dispute?

Yes, mediation and arbitration are alternative dispute resolution methods that can be used to resolve breach of contract disputes. They are less costly and time-consuming than litigation and can result in a mutually agreeable solution. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, they are not always an option.

Contact an Experienced Breach of Contract Attorney in New York City

The attorneys at Woods Lonergan PLLC have successfully navigated many types of contractual conflicts. We will leverage our resources and knowledge to work towards the favorable results you need and deserve.

Our attorneys understand how unsettling it can be to face an unexpected lawsuit regarding a breach of contract. We provide personalized legal counsel and will give you and your case the attention you deserve.

Contact us online or call (212) 684-2500 to learn more about your rights and legal options. 

Woods Lonergan PLLC helps clients with breach of contract matters throughout NYC including the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.