Business simply is not done like it was in the old days anymore. A firm handshake and a nice meal are no longer substitutes for a solidly written contract. Florida business owners now want to enter into a written contract that outlines what each party is obligated to do and what each party will receive in return. Sadly, most business owners also want to know what levers to pull if something under the contract goes wrong and how long they have to bring a claim for compensation if the contract is breached.
Because we cannot predict the future the day the contract is signed, understanding the Florida statute of limitations for breach of contract is essential in a business owner’s toolkit. If a party fails to follow the terms of the contract, what are the other party’s options? The BrewerLong team will walk you through some key scenarios when a party breaches a contract and some basic tools for understanding Florida’s statute for breach of contract and how it might apply to your business situations.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations on a breach of contract is a law that specifies the maximum amount of time parties have to bring a claim for any specific issue. Most states have statutes of limitations for virtually all civil and criminal actions. A statute of limitations is important because, after a certain point, it may not be fair or in the best interest of the law to bring a claim.
For instance, allowing a landlord to file a claim 40 years after the fact for breach of contract when a resident made a minor mistake in payment or broke the terms of a lease might permit the landlord to charge 40 years’ worth of interest or penalties. Such actions would not be fair or in the best interest of law and public policy. Therefore, most states have put limits on how far in time from the breach of contract an action for damages can be filed. Florida is no exception.
A contract law attorney can explain the law and terms of your contract as well as provide advice on how to proceed. We can also answer any other questions you might have about any potential strategies on how to proceed with a contract law claim.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Breach of Contract in Florida?
Under Florida law, most legal or equitable actions based upon a breach of a written contract must be brought within five years. Whether your ultimate plan is to bring the case all the way to trial or your goal is to settle the case, you still must file a cause of action for breach of a written contract with a court within five years.
If the cause of action is based upon an oral agreement, then the statute of limitations for a breached contract made orally applies. This is a four-year statute of limitations instead of five. Lawsuits that rely on proving the breach of an oral contract can also encounter some difficulties in gathering evidence, so be sure to have a careful conversation with experienced counsel.
If you are uninterested in monetary damages and your goal is to have the other party actually perform on the contract, then a slightly different set of rules may apply. This remedy is called “specific performance,” meaning that you simply want the other party to perform their responsibilities under the contract. A judge or court might consider many different factors when determining whether specific performance is an appropriate remedy. If there is not another adequate way to make you whole or in a similar position to the one you would be in had your counterparty performed the contract, then specific performance may be the best solution. Lawsuits asking for specific performance must be filed within one year of the alleged breach.
If you are dealing with a breach of contract issue, BrewerLong can help. An experienced member of our team can speak with you to help determine if we would be able to assist you in pursuing your breach of contract claims.
How BrewerLong Can Help
BrewerLong represents business and commercial clients in breach of contract cases. We routinely litigate these types of cases, so we have the experience necessary to know what to look for when there’s a contract dispute. Our firm emphasizes the importance of a client-centered and skillful law practice, which our clients praise us for and value. We’ve been investing our time and energy in our clients and the community we serve since 2008. We’re here to help answer your questions and tailor a contract dispute resolution plan to fit your situation. Call us today or contact us online.