Breach of Contract Lawsuit in New York: Quick guide to steps

by Fred Abramson on May 18, 2009 · 1 comment

Breach of contract occurs when a binding agreement or bargained-for exchange is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract by non-performance or interference with the other party’s performance. If the party does not fulfill his contractual promise, or has given information to the other side that he will not perform his duty as mentioned in the contract or if by his action and conduct he seems to be unable to perform the contract, that party is said to breach the contract.

An example of a breach of contract lawsuit is when a client has failed to pay as per a written agreemtn. What should you do?  First you should see whether the other side has any defenses. Should you call a lawyer and start a lawsuit?

Below, is quick guide that summarizes the basic steps, legal process and expenses of a breach of contract lawsuit.

Legal Steps:

1. Prove existence of Agreement;

2. Prove breach of Agreement (failure on one side to perform or pay);

3. Prove damages due to breach (loss of profit, damage to business).

Legal Process:

1. File Complaint with the Court;

2. Defendant answers the Complaint, and could start a counterclaim;

3. Period of Discovery which are oral and written questions from each side. Interrogatories and Bills of Particulars are written discovery. Depositions are discovery interviews.

4. Discovery conferences. For example, in New York County, you will have a preliminary conference and a series of compliance, status and settlement conferences.

5. Motions requesting certain relief. For example, a party may make a summary judgment motion if they believe that there are no issues of fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

6. Trial


1. Timeframe: Between 1 and 5 years.

2. Retainer: A common breach of contract retainer is between $5 and $20 thousand dollars.

3. Court costs: Between $500 and $10,0000.00.

4. If a case proceeds to trial, $20-$100,000 is not uncommon.

If you have any questions regarding a breach of contract, contact me at the Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson at 212-233-0666

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