Liability And Damages For Breach Of A Florida Construction Contract
While there are state statutes that describe causes of action for liens, defects, and nonpayment, many disputes over Florida construction projects amount to a typical breach of contract. This is not to suggest that these matters are simple, regardless of whether you are the breaching or aggrieved party. The point is that a breach of a construction contract suit may be covered by basic common law principles that Florida embraced in 1776. As part of doing business, you may already be familiar with offer, acceptance, consideration, and damages for breach.
However, there are many intricate details lying beneath the surface of this simplified description. There are specific elements that a claimant must prove based upon the nature of the breach, and it is also important to understand the types of damages available to the prevailing party. You can count on a Florida construction contract lawyer to tackle the challenges, but you may benefit from an overview.
Theories of Liability for a Breach of Construction Contract
At the heart of every contract is a set of duties or tasks for each party and, in construction, the agreement typically revolves around performance and payment. Due to the nature of the industry, disputes often arise over deviations. Any contingency or change order that departs from the terms in the contract can result in losses, or a party might incur additional costs that were not envisioned at the time of making the agreement. As a result, there are three theories of liability in breach of construction contract cases:
- Defective workmanship;
- Failure to comply with the construction schedule; and
- Failure to perform a specific duty according to contractual terms.
Damages Available for Aggrieved Parties
There are two approaches to the legal remedies in a breach action, the first of which is purely financial. An aggrieved party can sue to recover monetary damages for poor quality work, schedule delays, or performance issues. Compensation generally aims to make the nonbreaching party whole after the other’s violation of the contract.
Florida contract law also allows for equitable relief, where the aggrieved party can request that the court order certain actions. Many lawsuits for breach will include requests for both monetary damages and equitable remedies. Examples of equitable relief for breach of construction contract include:
- Rescission, which invalidates the contract returns the parties to the status quo that existed before making the agreement;
- Specific performance that requires the breaching party to uphold its end of the bargain or face contempt of court; and
- Repudiation, which is essentially an anticipatory breach by one party due to impossibility of performance.
Discuss Details with a South Florida Construction Contract Attorney
It is a mistake to try and represent your company’s interests in a breach of construction contract action, but this summary should be informative on the key issues involved. To learn how our team can support your interests on either side of a breach action, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. We can set up a consultation to review your situation and discuss strategy.