Equitable Remedies for Breach of Contract
Equitable Remedies for Orlando Breach of Contract
Equitable remedies for an Orlando breach of contract are judicial remedies developed by courts of equity since the time of Henry VII of England, which were incorporated into current Florida law. Equitable remedies provide more flexible responses than was possible in the precedent-based common law. Equitable remedies for breach of contract are typically awarded only when money damages will not fully reimburse the non-breaching party. Equitable remedies for breach of contract involve the court ordering the parties to act or to not act in certain ways. Types of equitable remedies include:
Specific Performance: An action for specific performance asks the court to order that the party breaching the contract perform their part of the bargain as they agreed to do in the contract. Specific performance is used to enforce a “positive obligation” and is available as a remedy only if money damages are inadequate to compensate the innocent party. The sale of real estate is a typical example for specific performance as each piece of real estate is considered unique so that money damages are typically insufficient to make the non-breaching party whole. Other examples of actions for specific performance are the sale of a business, and even the sale of personal property, if the property is sufficiently unique or the money damages available are inadequate compensation.
Injunction: An action for injunction will lie to enforce a “negative obligation” under a contract, or in other words, when a party agrees that something will NOT be done. It is the opposite of an action for specific performance, which seeks to enforce a “positive obligation.” The most common examples of an injunction issued to enforce a negative obligation are cases involving the breach of a non-compete agreement or the breach of a non-solicitation agreement. In these agreements, one party (typically an ex-employee) agrees that it will not compete with or solicit customers of another’s business.
Contract Rescission: An action for rescission asks the court to basically cancel the contract between the parties. Rescission may be granted when one party fraudulently induces the other to enter into the contract, or when the legal remedy (money damages) is inadequate to compensate the innocent party from the other parties’ breach of contract. In either situation, the court must be able to restore both parties to the status quo that existed before the contract was entered into.
Contract Reformation: This breach of contract remedy allows the court to re-write, or reform, the parties’ contract to correct a mistake in it. The mistake can be a mutual mistake, for example, a contract in which both parties agreed that the deal was “to be closed in 30 days” but instead wrote “to be closed in 300 days.” The mistake to be corrected can also be a mistake intentionally slipped in there by one party without the other party noticing. The remedy of reformation does not correct the parties’ actual agreement, but acts to correct mistakes in the writing that embodies the parties’ agreement.
Quantum Meruit: An action for quantum meruit (latin for “as much as is deserved”) allows a party to sue for the reasonable value of the services provided. Quantum meruit is only available when the parties do NOT have an enforceable contract, so it is sometimes referred to as “quasi-contract” or an “implied in law” contract, as the court essentially creates a contract on which the innocent party may be paid. When a party provides services to another with the expectation that they will be paid, and the other party accepts the services and receives a benefit from them, the party receiving the benefit may be required to pay the party for the reasonable value of the services provided.