Contracts form the foundation of virtually every business partnership. When one party fails to honor a contract, it affects the other party in a variety of ways. A breach of contract can lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue, inability to meet corporate objectives and legal disputes that can take months or years to resolve.
If you or your company are involved in a contract dispute, and you need legal representation, then contact Jett Law LLC. I work with clients in all types of commercial contract disputes across an array of industries. Call me today and get a free case assessment from an experienced commercial contract disputes lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio.
Laws in Ohio regarding contract formation, validity, and enforcement largely rely on common law principles. Common laws are generally unwritten laws that are derived from legal decisions made by courts.
However, there are a wide range of laws that apply in different situations, creating exceptions. For instance, contracts for the sale of goods are enforced by a number of statutes, including Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.
Commercial contract disputes typically arise out of a misunderstanding of the terms of the contract or a mistake committed by one or both parties. Some of the leading causes of contract disputes include:
Contract errors or omissions and any resulting ambiguity
One party withdrawing from the contract
Noncompliance with contractual obligations
Failure to administer the contract correctly
A poorly drafted or ambiguous contract
Some examples of common contracts that may be disputed include:
Not all contracts have to be written to be legally binding. However, a verbal agreement can be nearly impossible to prove. This is especially true if the parties decide to skip mediation and take the case to court.
Contract errors happen quite often, putting both companies in a stressful situation. One party may create the error which goes unchecked by the other party during negotiations. Unfortunately, both parties sign the contract with the errors or omissions, leaving the contract ambiguous and subject to dispute.
As noted above, ambiguity usually arises due to a lack of understanding or clear expectations from one or both parties. Confusing language, lack of deadlines, or unclear standards can cause disputes over what it means for a company to fulfill its obligations according to client specifications.
Experienced companies understand that unforeseen challenges can and will happen. Therefore, companies need to have a contingency plan when something goes wrong. A backup plan can help a company maintain the terms of the contract even if a project is derailed.
A party that will not or cannot fulfill their end of the agreement is committing a breach of contract. The party may have a good reason for breaking the contract. However, it is still a legal issue that may need to be resolved through mediation, arbitration, or litigation with the help of an attorney.
If you have a contract dispute with another party and you need to settle it legally, you have two main options:
During mediation, both parties involved in the dispute agree to come together to resolve the conflict. They meet with a neutral mediator that facilitates the meeting. The mediator is often chosen for both their industry knowledge and their legal knowledge related to the dispute. However, the mediator does not determine the outcome of the resolution. The mediator's only role is to facilitate the parties' efforts to resolve the dispute amicably. Nearly 80 percent of disputes that are handled through mediation are resolved.
Arbitration is similar to mediation. By agreement of the parties — usually in their written contract — both parties meet and conduct a hearing to resolve the dispute legally with an arbitrator. The main difference is that the arbitrator (or arbitrators) decides the outcome of the case. Their decision is legally binding, and both parties must adhere to it. Arbitration is similar to a trial but is less formal and does not take place in a courtroom.
Litigation is the most common and generally the most expensive manner in which to resolve commercial contract disputes. The case, if filed in a court of applicable jurisdiction (state or federal), then proceeds through a formal process of discovery and motion practice before proceeding to a jury trial (if a jury is demanded) or a trial to the court. After the trial court reaches a decision, the case may be appealed to a court of appeals, but only on legal errors that appear in the trial court’s record.
If you are currently in a dispute with another party, and you need legal help, then contact Jett Law LLC today. We will help you fight to protect your best interests. Get a free consultation from a commercial contract disputes lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio.