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Almost everything you do in a day is related to a contract. From buying a cup of coffee in the morning, to going to work, to paying your bills. Contracts are all around us, yet somehow they remain largely invisible, that is until there is a problem. Contract disputes are an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, many people do not realize there is a problem with a contract until it is already too late. Contracts are an integral part of businesses, yet when a contract dispute arises it can severely disrupt the flow of business.

If you find yourself embroiled in a contract dispute, then do not hesitate to contact an attorney today. Ken Gauvey has been representing individuals, employers, construction companies, vendors, and businesses alike in all contract dispute matters. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at (410) 346-2377.

What is a Contract?

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A contract is an agreement whether written or oral that is a legally binding agreement. The essence of a contract is that it is a promise or agreement that is supported by an exchange of something of value. According to Black’s Law Dictionary “An agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are enforceable or otherwise recognizable at law”

Maryland Contract Law is located in Title 2 Sales Md. Commercial Law Code Ann. § 2-206 (2012): § 2-206. Offer and acceptance in formation of contract (1) Unless otherwise unambiguously indicated by the language or circumstances (a) An offer to make a contract shall be construed as inviting acceptance in any manner and by any medium reasonable in the circumstances; (b) An order or other offer to buy goods for prompt or current shipment shall be construed as inviting acceptance either by a prompt promise to ship or by the prompt or current shipment of conforming or nonconforming goods, but such a shipment of nonconforming goods does not constitute an acceptance if the seller seasonably notifies the buyer that the shipment is offered only as an accommodation to the buyer. (2) Where the beginning of a requested performance is a reasonable mode of acceptance an offeror who is not notified of acceptance within a reasonable time may treat the offer as having lapsed before acceptance.

What is a Breach of Contract?

A breach of contract is one party’s failure to perform under the terms of the contract without a legally valid excuse. A breach of contract can occur by:

  • One party’s failure to perform as promised
  • Making it impossible for the other party to perform
  • Announcing that the other party has no intent to perform under the contract.

However, unless it is specifically stated in the contract a breach of contract only occurs when there is a violation of the contract term and it was a material breach, this means that a minor breach of the terms may not be enough to negate the obligations under the contract. For example, if a contract says that a delivery of goods will be delivered to the front door of a person’s house, and the party accidentally delivers the goods to the side door of the house, then this may not be sufficient evidence of a breach of contract. Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 22-701 (2012) § 22-701. Breach of contract; material breach (a) In general. — Whether a party is in breach of contract is determined by the agreement or, in the absence of agreement, this title. A breach occurs if a party without legal excuse fails to perform an obligation in a timely manner, repudiates a contract, or exceeds a contractual use term, or otherwise is not in compliance with an obligation placed on it by this title or the agreement. A breach, whether or not material, entitles the aggrieved party to its remedies. Whether a breach of a contractual use term is an infringement or a misappropriation is determined by applicable informational property rights law.

(b) Material breach. — A breach of contract is material if:
(1) The contract so provides;
(2) The breach is a substantial failure to perform a term that is an essential element of the agreement; or
(3) The circumstances, including the language of the agreement, the reasonable expectations of the parties, the standards and practices of the business, trade, or industry, and the character of the breach, indicate that:
(A) The breach caused or is likely to cause substantial harm to the aggrieved party; or
(B) The breach substantially deprived or is likely substantially to deprive the aggrieved party of a significant benefit it reasonably expected under the contract
(c) Cumulative nonmaterial breaches. — The cumulative effect of nonmaterial breaches may be material.

If there has been a breach of contract it is important that you work with an attorney on this matter.

Other Contract Issues

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There are many problems and events that arise in the course of creating and resolving contract disputes, and that is because contracts deal with a variety of circumstances and people.

  • Fraud – the court may cancel a contract if one of the parties knowingly made a misrepresentation or told a lie in forming the agreement. Proving fraud can be difficult; there will usually have to be an outright lie or a substantial omission in the contract.
  • Oral and written contracts – many people believe that oral contracts are not enforceable. However, that is mistaken, many oral contracts are enforceable, however, written contracts are always more prudent for a business. In addition, there are certain contracts that must be in writing to be considered enforceable. Specifically, a writing is required for contracts for the sale of goods where the items are worth more the $500, and for those transactions that are for real estate.
  • Parol Evidence rule – if there is a written contract, then the terms of that contract generally cannot be changed by evidence of a prior oral statement.
  • Statute of Limitations – In Maryland, the statute of limitations for filing suit for breach of contract is three years from the date of breach of contract.

When you enter into a contract with another person or business, you expect them to perform under the contract, just as they expect you to perform under the contract. However, circumstances often change and can lead to contract disputes. If you are the party to a contract and now find yourself in the middle of a dispute with your employer, a business, or any other party then contact us today.

How Can a Baltimore Business Attorney Help?

Contracts are common legal tools that are frequently used among businesses and individuals alike. Almost every business transaction is memorialized by a written contract. However, it is unfortunate that there are commonly problems and disputes with contracts. An attorney can help explain the terms and conditions of a contract to you. This can be useful to businesses and individuals who are parties to a contract. If you understand all of your obligations and all of the obligations of the other party, then you can avoid any potential pitfalls and avoid potential disputes.

However, if you or another party has already claimed that there was a breach of contract, an attorney can help to renegotiate the contracts with the parties and help keep the contract intact. Unfortunately, sometimes contract disputes can go beyond mere negotiation and can require a judicial decision. In this event, an attorney can advocate on your behalf in court.
Guidance from a Maryland Contract Dispute Attorney

At the Law Practice of Ken Gauvey, we help our clients with all matters pertaining to contracts, from formation, negotiation, renegotiation, and conflict resolution. If you are involved in a contract dispute, or simply want to know your rights under a contract contact Ken Gauvey today. Ken Gauvey has years of experience advising and assisting businesses and individuals with all matters relating to contracts. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at (410) 346-2377.

Gauvey Law

6700 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 200
Columbia, MD 21046