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What remedies are available in a breach of contract case?

The remedies available to a plaintiff in an Ohio breach of contract case depend on the terms of the contract. The most common remedy is money damages, but the plaintiff may in some circumstances pursue rescission, specific performance or injunctive relief, either in lieu of or in addition to money damages. As a preliminary matter, the non-breaching party should generally notify the other of a breach as soon as possible. Failure to timely notify the breaching party may preclude or limit recovery in some cases.

In calculating money damages for a breach, a court may use different formulas in different cases. The breaching party is not necessarily liable for the entire value of the contract. Sometimes damages are limited to the actual loss suffered by the injured party. For example, if a person contracts to buy an item for $500,000 and fails to perform and the item is able to be sold to another buyer for $450,000, a court will likely award $50,000, rather than $500,000, in damages, plus any other damages the seller may have suffered due to the delay.

Rescission as a remedy for breach essentially means that the contract is cancelled and that neither party has a duty to perform. Specific performance may be ordered where the contract was for a unique item, like land or a rare painting, and thus money damages will not make the injured party whole.

Injunctive relief may be available where there is a threat of continuing breach. An injunction is a court order to act or refrain from acting in a certain way. As the remedies available in a particular case depend on the facts of the case, a business and commercial attorney may be able to help a party on either side of a breach of contract dispute by analyzing the terms of the contract and negotiating a resolution on the client's behalf.

Source: Ohio State Bar Association, "contracts ", October 27, 2014

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