Breach of Contract Litigation
Our law firm represents healthcare providers, business owners and individuals in litigation and arbitration based on breach of contract, including:
- breach of contract litigation in federal court
- breach of contract litigation in state court
- federal and state appeals in breach of contract litigation
- arbitration of contract disputes
- mediation of contract disputes
We help our clients understand the dispute process from a litigator’s perspective, formulate and execute the best litigation strategies to meet business and individual objectives, and succeed in achieving litigation goals in a cost-effective, result-driven manner.
Georgia and South Carolina Breach of Contract Litigation Firm
Our law firm often represents healthcare businesses in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia and Aiken, South Carolina. (See Communities We Serve.) Kevin Little and Lee Hamil Little have extensive experience as lawyers and hold Martindale Hubbell's AV rating, its highest rating. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at our office nearest you.
Breach of Contract Primer
Perhaps the most common type of business litigation is a breach of a contract dispute. A contract is simply a legally enforceable promise. A contract can exist based on virtually any "meeting of the minds," formal or informal, where two or more parties mutually agree to some performance for valuable consideration. Most transactions and business dealings, simple or sophisticated, are governed by a written contract between two or more parties. A third party to a contract can also derive enforceable legal rights from that contract. Although in theory a written contract should govern the course of conduct between parties and minimize potential for misunderstandings, many factors lead to disputes based upon contracts, including such things as ambiguity in contract language, emergence of new circumstances that affect how a party interprets particular provisions, negligent or inadequate partial performance of contractual duties, inability to perform or bad faith, or intentional non-performance. Any failure to perform a promise – that is, breach of a legal duty -- can potentially constitute an actionable breach of contract for which damages and remedies may be available under applicable state law.
In Georgia and South Carolina, a breaching party may be required in a successful breach of contract lawsuit to pay compensatory damages that naturally flow from the breach or may be required by a court to perform obligations under the contract. Additionally, under certain circumstances, a non-performing party may be required in breach of contract litigation to pay attorney's fees and litigation expenses to the non-breaching party. Another remedy available in some breach of contract litigation is "rescission," which is legal dissolution of the contract with money returned and further obligations under the contract excused, returning the parties to their respective pre-contract positions.
In business litigation involving a breach of contract, the scope of remedies and the types of damages that may be recoverable are often critical to a realistic and reliable appraisal of the case and determination of appropriate litigation strategy. The fact that a contract exists between two or more litigants, for example, does not necessarily limit a party to contractual remedies. Remedies for tortious conduct relating to the contract may apply under appropriate circumstances if the alleged wrongdoing exceeds scope of contract.
Our law firm is very experienced in litigating such cases. For example, in Rivell et al. v. Private healthcare Systems, et al., 520 F. 3d 1308 (11th Cir. 2008), representing doctors, Kevin Little persuaded the Eleventh Circuit to reverse a decision by the trial judge to dismiss the case based on the theory that the plaintiffs could not bring a tort action where contractual remedies were available for the same conduct. In its publication of this important federal decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the doctors’ tort claims were not preempted by the contract and vacated the federal trial judge's ruling.
Resolution of a contract dispute may require arbitration if the subject contract contains a legally enforceable arbitration provision. Whether litigation versus arbitration of a contract dispute is better suited to the needs and objectives of a client dispute resolution strategy and whether an arbitration clause is even enforceable, are issues that warrant careful consideration and analysis of numerous business and legal factors. A contract may also contain a choice of law provision that will, if enforceable, determine what state's law governs any dispute under the contract.