When businesses expand their operations, one of the most critical steps is to enter into contracts with new employees, vendors and customers. While contracts provide a framework for mutually beneficial relationships, they can also lead to disputes if one party fails to fulfill its obligations.
To protect themselves from possible contract disputes, employers in Minnesota should consider several best practices.
- Ensure that all contracts are in writing and clearly state the terms and conditions of the agreement (payment terms, delivery schedules and any other obligations agreed upon by both parties).
- Consider including dispute resolution clauses, such as mediation and arbitration, in their contracts. These clauses can require parties to engage in mediation or arbitration before pursuing legal action.
- Maintain accurate records of all communication and transactions related to the contract, such as emails, contracts, invoices and other relevant documents. A clear paper trail can be critical in resolving disputes and proving one’s case in court.
It would also help if they were familiar with legal remedies available to parties involved in a contract dispute.
- Breach of contract claims allows parties to seek damages for losses from the breach. Damages can include compensation for lost profits and costs incurred by the breach.
- Specific performance may apply in cases where damages would not adequately compensate the plaintiff for their loss. It is the requirement for a breaching party to follow through with the terms of the contract.
- Injunctive relief is a legal remedy that requires the party in breach to refrain from certain actions. It may help in cases where the breach of contract involves the misuse of intellectual property, trade secrets or other confidential information. For example, if an employee breaches a non-disclosure agreement by disclosing confidential information to a competitor, the plaintiff may use injunctive relief to prevent further disclosure.
Contract disputes can be costly, time-consuming and disruptive to business operations, but they are not insurmountable. By taking proactive steps to protect themselves and understanding the legal remedies available, employers can reduce their risk of contract disputes and be better prepared to handle them if they arise.