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Arizona Contract Law

Written Contracts Are Necessary

You should have a lawyer look over any contracts that you might be considering entering into. Even when you are facing a "friendly" deal with someone you have known for years, the contract should be written in definite terms and should be examined by a skilled attorney before being agreed on.

Our firm handles all types of contracts, including transactions and litigation involving disputes. We at Platt & Westby, P.C., represent our clients' interests in real estate contracts as well as a wide range of interpersonal relationship contracts, and business contracts. To further discuss your contract matters, contact us today.

General Principles of Contract Law

A contract is an agreement between two or more parties to "perform" certain obligations. These obligations to perform are duties that each party owes to the other. Breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform his duty. The first party to fail to perform is in breach and that breach excuses the other from his duty to perform. Depending upon the facts, when a contract is breached the party not in breach may or may not have a claim for damages.

A contract is either ruled by the common law or by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). If the subject matter of the contract is for any sale of goods, UCC takes precedence. If the subject matter of the contract is services or real estate then the common law speaks.

In every contract, there is either formation or not. A properly formed contract has an offer, acceptance and consideration. Consideration is often referred to as getting the benefit of the bargain. This means, that each party is giving up something they are entitled to do and getting something in return. If no contract has been formed properly, then that provides a possible "out" for one of the sides to the agreement.

Because courts have limited abilities to monitor performance they prefer to award money damages instead of ordering performance (making each side do the "duty" they promised to perform) when there is a breach. Therefore, the parties to a contract ordinarily cannot sue to enforce the contract. Parties generally are free to breach at the risk that they will not be able to negotiate damages for breach and come out ahead. If a settlement is not negotiated, damages become the issue for trial.

Specific performance may be requested when the object of a purchase agreement is so unique that a substitute is not available. Real estate is one example of property that may be the subject of suit for specific performance. But the obligation to perform services even if unique is rarely the subject of a judgment for breach of contract.

Contact Our Phoenix Contract Attorneys

With so many parts belonging to the area of "contracts" in general, a knowledgeable attorney is a valuable tool. A very common and seemingly simple matter can turn into a complex legal problem without help and guidance along the way. Contact or call our office at 602-277-4441 to speak with one of our experienced Arizona contract lawyers at Platt & Westby, P.C.

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