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Promise Me Not

Breach of contract lawsuits must have a foundation in a legally enforceable promise.

A breach of contract lawsuit isn’t quite as straightforward as many people might think. It isn’t just a matter of someone making a promise and then not following through. There is more to it than that, as not all promises are enforceable in a court of law. The real question becomes just what is a legally enforceable promise as compared to those little promises people make, and then don’t actually follow up on them.

To know what is enforceable is to know what is not enforceable, and that would include things like promises or jokes that a reasonable person wouldn’t take seriously; any undertaking made by someone under the age of 18; assurances made by someone with mental problems; oaths to commit illegal acts and pledges not in writing when they are required to be in writing. There are many other vows that are not legally enforceable as well, but these are best discussed with a skilled Sacramento business lawyer when discussing the possibilities of a breach of contract lawsuit.

There is a fairly strong emphasis on the use of the term “reasonable” in the justice system. This is due to the fact that many cases are decided on the basis of what a “reasonable person under similar circumstances” should have known or done. In other words, that “reasonable person” makes his or her presence known in the courtroom and to juries trying to arrive at a decision as to whether or not a legally enforceable promise has indeed been shattered. If a contract has been violated, the person who caused the damage (broke the promise) must make it up to the person who lost the benefit of the original promise in the first place.

Suffice it to say that a legally enforceable promise then becomes one made by an adult of sound mind to do or not do something on which another person relies. It’s often not quite that simple, which is why consulting an expert Sacramento business lawyer is a necessity in breach of contract cases. Deciding if a lawsuit is worth it, depending on the facts of the case, may be the first hurdle to surmount, as lawsuits are expensive. There is the option to sue in small claims court, but the limit in California is $7,500.

The best thing to do if faced with a possible breach of contract situation is to discuss all the details of the possible case with a Sacramento business lawyer. Choose battles like this wisely, as much may be riding on the outcome.