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When is specific performance preferable to monetary damages?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Breach Of Contract

While it’s true that most breach of contract cases get resolved with money changing hands, a financial settlement or verdict is not the only way for a plaintiff to get past the breach. In many cases, you can also get a court order forcing the defendant to do what they initially promised in the contract.

This is called specific performance or replevin. It’s a type of legal remedy available when financial compensation is not the preferred or best solution. The goal of any breach of contract remedy is to put the plaintiff business or individual in the same position as they would have been had the defendant never committed the breach. Usually, money that meets the value of the unfulfilled product or service (or at least comes reasonably close) is sufficient. But in some cases, cash cannot replace what was lost.

A product you can’t get elsewhere

For example, say the contract called for Artist A to create and sell a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art according to customer B’s specifications. But when A is finished, the piece does not meet B’s requirements, is made from inferior materials, and is delivered a month late. Thus, A has breached the contract. But say the commissioned piece is something that only A can create. Getting their money back arguably does not help B because they cannot use it to buy another piece of equivalent quality. Instead, B might seek specific performance from A.

If you are unsure what kind of remedies would best help your business after suffering a breach of contract, a conversation with a business attorney can help you decide.