How Much Can You Sue for Breach of Contract in Missouri?

Jul 2 2024      On Behalf of  David M. Duree & Associates, P.C.      Breach of Contract

A breach of contract occurs when a party fails to comply with one or more provisions of a contract. Common examples of breaches of contract include not paying the purchase price, not delivering a product or service, or breaking a promise like a promise to maintain the confidentiality of information.

Contract law recognizes two types of breaches: minor and material. Minor breaches involve ancillary or less essential provisions of a contract. The non-breaching party must continue performing under the contract when a minor breach occurs. However, a material breach involves a significant contract provision and effectively deprives the non-breaching party of the benefit of their bargain; the non-breaching party has the right to stop performing their contractual duties following a material breach.

Under Missouri’s statute of limitations, a non-breaching party typically has five years to file a lawsuit against the breaching party. However, other types of contracts, such as sales contracts or contracts for payment of money, may have different limitations periods.

Types of Compensation Available for a Breach of Contract

In a breach of contract claim, a non-breaching party may have the right to recover compensation for various losses. Categories of compensation in breach of contract cases include:

  • Compensatory damages: Compensatory damages include direct losses that a non-breaching party incurs due to a breach of contract. For example, if a seller fails to deliver a product or service, compensatory damages may include the money the buyer spent to obtain replacement products/services.
  • Consequential damages: Consequential damages include indirect losses from a breach of contract. For example, if an equipment seller fails to deliver a piece of manufacturing equipment and the manufacturer cannot make products, consequential damages could include lost profits.
  • Liquidated damages: When parties anticipate difficulty calculating compensatory or consequential damages from a breach of contract, they may include a liquidated damages provision. In a liquidated damages provision, the parties agree to compensation that the non-breaching party can recover in a breach of contract claim.

Sometimes, a non-breaching party might seek equitable relief through specific performance. A claim for specific performance seeks a court order requiring a breaching party to fulfill their contractual obligations. However, courts typically limit specific performance to cases where financial compensation cannot make the non-breaching party whole.

Factors Influencing the Amount of Compensation You Might Receive

The amount of money you might recover in a breach of contract claim will depend on various factors, such as:

  • The nature and extent of the breach, including whether the breaching party committed a minor or material breach
  • Whether parties have differing interpretations of contract terms
  • The strength of the evidence of your losses
  • Whether you undertook mitigation of your losses

Contact a Contract Attorney Today

When a counterparty has breached its contract with you, you might be able to pursue financial recovery for losses you’ve incurred or will incur due to the breach. Contact David M. Duree & Associates, P.C., today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a trusted Missouri litigation attorney to discuss how our firm could help you with your breach of contract claim.