Houston-Based Breach of Contract Attorneys with Track Records of Success

Our Houston-based attorneys have helped parties on both sides of breach of contract disputes. For example, in WTG Gas Processing, L.P. v ConocoPhillips Company, Robert Burford obtained a summary judgment for his client, ConocoPhillips, in a $500 million breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation action. On the other side, Brent Perry obtained and collected a $4.5 million breach of contract judgment for a Texas consulting firm against a Korean ship builder in Ikanco, Inc. v. DSME. Burford Perry attorneys regularly handle breach of contract case involving disputed amounts more than $100,000.

While contracts are vital to solidify business relationships, disputes often arise when the terms of a contract are broken or unfulfilled. When this occurs, clients need an experienced breach of contract attorney to protect their rights, assets, and business.

What Is Legally Considered a Contract?

Burford Perry handles breach of contract cases involving formal documents drafted by a lawyer, letter agreements, or even oral or private handshake agreements. Informal and verbal agreements can be upheld in court.

A valid contract is formed by an offer, an acceptance, a meeting of the minds, each party’s consent to the terms, and, generally in the case of a written contract, execution and delivery of the contract with the intent that it be mutual and binding.[1]

When Does Breach of Contract Occur?

Whenever a party to a contract fails to uphold its promises, a breach of contract has occurred. Breach can also be anticipatory, often called repudiation, when one party makes it clear they do not intend on fulfilling a contract’s promises or does something to prohibit another party from performing. Breach of contract can occur with employment contracts and non-compete agreements, insurance contracts, partnership agreements, wills and trusts, purchase agreements, sales contracts, and shareholder agreements, among others.

Texas law recognizes a claim for breach of contract. The elements of a breach of contract claim are: 1) existence of a valid contract; 2) performance or tendered performance by the plaintiff; 3) breach by the defendant; and 4) damages sustained by the plaintiff as a result of that breach.[2]

What to Do If a Breach Has Occurred

Contractual breaches can have severe consequences for businesses. Understanding your rights and obligations after a breach is important. Parties often unintentionally waive their rights or fail to take proper steps to preserve their claims for damages.

What to do when you believe a contract has been breached is determined in part by whether the breach is material. When one party to a contract commits a “material” breach, the other party may be excused from further performance.[3] The non-breaching party may also recover damages or, in some cases, enforce the contract by specific performance.

When a breach is immaterial, the non-breaching party is not excused from future performance and may sue only for the damages caused by the breach.[4] In determining whether a breach of contract is material, courts look to the following factors[5]:

  • the extent to which the injured/non-breaching party will be deprived of the benefit it reasonably expected;
  • the extent to which the non-breaching party can be adequately compensated for the benefit it will lose;
  • the ability and likelihood of the breaching party to cure its breach, taking account of all the circumstances; and
  • the extent to which the behavior of the breaching party comports with standards of good faith and fair dealing.

Efficient and Experienced Representation

At Burford Perry, we’ve helped parties on both sides of contract disputes, which gives us a unique perspective on how to resolve these cases. To determine your rights and remedies after a breach of contract or contract dispute, it’s important to engage an experienced business trial lawyer like those at Burford Perry to advise you on your next move.

[1] Baroid Equipment, Inc. v. Odeco Drilling, Inc., 184 S.W.3d 1, 17 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, pet. denied)

[2] Valero Mktg. & Supply Co. v. Kalama Int’l, LLC, 51 S.W.3d 345, 351 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist] 2001, no pet.); see also Bridgmon v. Array  Sys. Corp., 325 F.3d 572, 577 (5th Cir.2003)

[3] Mustang Pipeline Co. v. Driver Pipeline Co., 134 S.W.3d 195, 196 (Tex. 2004)

[4] Hernandez v. Gulf Group Lloyds, 875 S.W.2d 691, 693 (Tex. 1994)

[5] Restatement (2d) of Contracts § 241 (1981); Hernandez v. Gulf Group Lloyds, 875 S.W.2d 691, 693 (Tex.1994)