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Articles > Small Claims Court > Breach of Contract

Small Claims Against A Business or Individual for Breach of Contract

By : David Smith
Published here : Nov 13, 2015
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A majority of small claims cases relate to breach of contract, either by businesses or individuals. What’s a contract? A contract is any agreement between an individual and a business or between individuals, where one side agrees to do something for the other, in exchange for (usually) money. 

The agreement can be written or, as in many cases, oral. One of the parties to the contract fails to perform the actions as stipulated in the terms of the agreement, fails to offer payment in return for work done, or if their debts have been left unpaid, then a breach of contract is said to have happened. Such cases end up in small claims court as they are relatively minor. 

Examples of Breach of Contract Cases…

Breach of contract suits are usually filed when one party makes a claim that the other failed to carry out the actions in accordance with the terms of the contract. Some examples of breach of contract cases are…

#1: Suing an apartment owner for renting an apartment to someone else after agreeing to rent it to you.

#2:  Suing a caterer who shows up late for an important party, which results in a possible loss of business for you.

#3: Suing a website designer for not delivering the work on time, which results in delaying the launch of your online business.

#4: Suing a professional roofing contractor for leaving the work half-done. 

Winning a Breach of Contract Case…

To win a breach of contract case in a small claims court, you’ll have to prove that a contract existed, or that it was broken. You should establish that the defendant is the proper party to be sued by you and that you did suffer a monetary loss because of the breach.

In most small claims courts, breach of contract cases, one of the parties to the dispute fails to pay money for work done. It could be a friend or a relative who fails to return a personal loan, or a client who fails to pay for your services. It could be someone who made a commitment to buy a certain number of goods only to back off at the last moment.

Here’s what you should prove as the plaintiff….

  • The identity of the defendant
  • The existence of a contract with the defendant
  • That you kept your promises according to the deal made with the defendant, and provided the services, goods or loan as required by the contract.
  • That the defendant failed to meet his or her obligations in accordance with the contract. 

Dealing with fraud…

In case there has been a fraud, and it is proved, the small claims court sees to it that the deal gets cancelled and you get your money back. The fraud could be an intentional misrepresentation, a deliberate false statement about a product or a service, fraudulent concealment or suppressing the truth about a product or a service, a false promise, where a promise is made without any intention of doing anything about it, and negligent misrepresentation, where one makes a statement about a product or service without bothering to check its authenticity. 

Presenting the case in court…

When presenting a breach of contract case in a small claims court against a defendant the first thing to do is to convince the judge that a contract actually existed between yourself and the defendant. It would really help a great deal if the contract is in writing, and makes it easier for you to present your case. If the contract is oral, you should be able to prepare its existence by presenting witnesses or circumstantial evidence, if any. A copy of a check or anything that proves the existence of the contract would count as circumstantial evidence.

Once you’re able to prove that there was indeed breach of contract, and that the other party has failed to meet its obligations, it would be easy enough to establish the damages resulting from it.  It would help to present evidence to prove the extent of the damages suffered by you in order to convince the judge that you actually did suffer a financial loss because of the breach.

So that’s how you win a breach of contract case against a small business or an individual in a small claims court.

 

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