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What is Breach of Contract and its Statute of Limitations in New York?

Posted on in Civil Litigation

NYC breach of contract lawyer

Contracts are a part of daily life, governing everything from our auto insurance to agreements with home improvement contractors. If you run a business, you have contracts with your suppliers as well as your customers and even your business partners. Most of the time, everything goes according to plan: one party delivers the expected goods or services and the other party pays on time. But when the other party to a contract fails to live up to their obligations, and you suffer a significant financial loss as a result, you may have to sue them for breach of contract to get what you rightfully deserve.

Breach of Contract in New York

In order to sue someone for breach of contract, you must be able to show the other party committed a material breach of the contract terms and that you suffered a monetary loss as a result. A material breach is a substantial failure to perform as agreed, one that significantly defeats the purpose of the original agreement. 

For example, if you contracted with someone to replace 10 windows in your house for a fee of $1,000 per window. You paid them half, $5,000, upfront, after which they replaced two windows and then abandoned the project. This would be considered a substantial failure to perform and you have a specific financial loss of $3,000.

In this example, you would want to file a claim in civil court and obtain a court judgment ordering that contractor to repay you at least $3,000. According to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules sections 5001-5004, you may also be awarded 9 percent interest on the money awarded to you by the court.

Statute of Limitations for New York Contract Lawsuits

According to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 213(2), legal action for breach of contract must be commenced within six years of the breach. For example, suppose you signed a contract with a cleaning company in which you agreed to pay $600 per week for the cleaners to come three times a week. Some months later, you query your electronic entry/exit system and discover the cleaners have only been coming two times a week since week 12 of your contract. The breach of contract “clock” would begin ticking at week 12.

However, if a contract specifies legal action must be initiated within a shorter time frame, such as one year, the courts will uphold that. For example, suppose you hire a contractor to remodel your kitchen. The contractor might logically put a clause in their contract stating that any legal action must be initiated within one year of the completion of work. If you discover 14 months later that you are unhappy with the quality of the work and want a refund, you will not be able to sue the contractor because the statute of limitations has expired. 

Brooklyn Breach of Contract Lawyers 

If you have suffered significant financial loss as the result of a broken contract, consult an experienced Manhattan breach of contract attorney. The law offices of Watford Jackson, PLLC, PLLC can advise you as to the best course of action. Call 855-WAT-JACK or 855-928-5225. 

Sources:

https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/GoingToCourt/SOLchart.shtml

https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/collectingjudg.shtml

http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/lawssrch.cgi?NVLWO:

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