You thought you had a deal – and you have the written contract to prove it. However, the other party to your agreement hasn’t come through.
Now, you’re angry and frustrated, and you’ve given the other party a warning that you intend to take legal action. Suddenly, the other party says they’ll fulfill their contractual obligations, after all.
This is called “specific performance,” and it can be a viable remedy for some contract breaches. However, it’s not always in your best interests to accept.
Why wouldn’t you want the other party to just uphold their end of the deal?
Whether specific performance is actually a remedy to a breach of contract depends heavily on your situation.
For example, imagine that your contract involved the purchase of a yacht. You had a deal until the seller got “cold feet.” After you let the seller know that you’re willing to pursue legal action, they change their mind again and decide to go through with the deal. You still want the yacht, so that’s an acceptable outcome.
However, now imagine that your contract involves the delivery of 1,000 St. Patrick’s Day novelty items for your bar. St. Patrick’s Day has already passed, so it won’t do you much good if the vendor finally hurries up and makes the delivery around Easter.
Your word is your bond, so it’s disappointing when someone else doesn’t live up to their end of a bargain. That’s why written contracts are so important. No matter how smoothly your business normally operates, disputes over a breach of contract are bound to happen. When they do, make sure that you fully understand your legal options – because specific performance may not actually be the relief you need.