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Can the courts force a business to fulfill contractual promises?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Business Litigation

When someone signs a contract with a business, they expect that the organization will follow through on its promises. Significant effort typically goes into the negotiation of a contract for a business to provide services, and the client expects to receive work that meets a certain standard. Most companies will go above and beyond for their clients, especially because they largely rely on word-of-mouth to pursue new projects and more work.

Unfortunately, there are always a few bad apples seemingly willing to take deposit money and never do the work they’ve promised. Is it possible to take a business to court and ask that it completes a project as promised in a contract?

Judges have the authority to enforce valid contracts

Someone who contracted for services that they did not receive has experienced a breach of contract. It is possible to initiate a civil lawsuit after a breach of contract. Judges theoretically have the authority to resolve a contract for each in multiple ways. They can award damages or compel a service provider to refund what they have received from a client in payment for services not rendered. They also have the authority to order specific performance. A judge can essentially order one party to follow through with an existing contract or can create their own required actions to address the breach of contract that occurred.

When a judge orders specific performance, they have effectively put the full force of the civil courts behind the rights of the defrauded client. Should the business still fail do what it promised or what the judge required in their order of specific performance, they could face numerous consequences. There could be financial penalties imposed and possibly even contempt of court criminal charges.

Seeking specific performance isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes, a business is insolvent and no longer has the same workers and tools it once possessed, or a bad relationship between the parties could make continued contact difficult. Other times, the client simply wants the business to follow through on its promises. As a result, seeking legal guidance is generally a good idea before committing to any particular approach.