What Is Specific Performance Of A Contract?

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When most people think of breaches of contract, they think of the potential for monetary damages. Monetary damages are considered a legal remedy for addressing a breach of contract matter. But another category of remedies is known as equitable remedies.

Among these is something called specific performance. If you are defending against a breach of contract action, you should know about this type of remedy. At Rosenbaum & Taylor, we are experienced with all types of business litigation cases.

We Can Explain What Specific Performance Is and Whether The Plaintiff May Seek It Against You

Specific performance is basically forcing the wrongful party to fulfill its contractual obligations. Monetary compensation is not appropriate or even desirable in all cases of breach of contract. The non-breaching party may request the judge to compel you or your company to perform under the contract instead.

Not all contracts are eligible for this type of remedy. Indeed, courts typically prefer to award monetary damages for a breach. To that end, there are some basic requirements the non-breaching party must establish:

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  • The existence of a valid and enforceable contract –  If the contract is invalid or unenforceable for some reason, specific performance will not be available as a remedy.
  • The non-breaching party (plaintiff) – is ready, willing, and able to perform. This means the plaintiff is prepared to carry out its obligations under the contract.
  • The breaching party (defendant) – can perform its obligations under the contract but has not. In other words, the defendant has failed to do what it agreed to do.
  • There is no other adequate remedy available at law – That means simply that monetary damages will not be sufficient to render justice in the matter.

Indeed, there are certain types of contracts for which monetary damages will not suffice. In New York, the following contracts may be eligible for a specific performance remedy:

  • The subject matter of the contract is unique, such as real property or custom-made goods
  • There is no established market value for the subject matter of the contract
  • The amount of damages is difficult to calculate

If you’re defending against a specific performance claim, you may argue that monetary damages are more appropriate. In particular, you can try to show that these damages can, in fact, be calculated. You may also dispute whether the subject matter is unique or there is no readily determinable market value. Take, for instance, the issue of custom-made goods. One limitation is that there has to be something special about the goods other than their price.

However, these arguments alone may not be enough. Even if, for instance, the damages can be calculated, the judge could opt for a specific performance remedy. The judge will be on the lookout for the most efficient and certain remedy, and that could be a specific performance.

As the defendant, you may also contend that specific performance would result in serious unfairness to you. Or, you can argue that specific performance would impose an undue hardship on your company. These and other arguments will depend almost entirely on the individual facts in your case. You should always consult an experienced New York contract litigation attorney.

If You’re Facing Allegations For Breach Of Contract, We Can Help!

Every contract litigation case is different, and that means the potential remedies will be as well. If your company is facing a breach of contract action, you need and deserve aggressive legal defense. In many cases, we can help you reach an amicable out of court settlement. But if this is not possible, we will fight for your rights in court. Let the dedicated attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor help. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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