Contract disputes happen regularly in business. One of the most common and simplest kinds of contract disputes involves a claim by one party that the other did not pay, or did not pay as much as required by the agreement. Most people tend to assume that if one party performed a service under a contract and did not get paid for it, a court will hold the other party liable for at least some payment. But that will not necessarily be true if the party bringing the lawsuit has also breached the contract. And a party that intentionally breaches a contract will have a very difficult time recovering payment, even if services were actually rendered.
The Massachusetts Superior Court recently reiterated that unless the breach was very minor, a party that purposely disregarded its own contractual obligations will probably not be able to recover payment for services it rendered. In G4S Tech. LLC v. Massachusetts Tech. Park Corp., No. 2014-02998- BLS2 (Mass. Super. Mar. 30, 2016), the plaintiff was a contractor that had provided services to the defendant, a state development agency. The contractor sought payments that had been denied or withheld by the defendant.
But Judge Janet Sanders concluded that even if the services had been performed as the plaintiff claimed, the contractor could not recover payment because of its own intentional breaches. The contractor had deliberately withheld payments to subcontractors in order to make its own financial health appear better. Because that conduct was “not consistent with good faith,” the contractor could not recover payment under the contract.
Even though the G4S Tech. LLC case involved some unusual circumstances
that are not likely to be present in most contractual relationships, the
outcome was based on principles that apply to most contracts. If you perform
a service under a contract and
would like to get paid, you should make sure that you have made a “good faith” effort to perform your own responsibilities to the fullest extent possible. If you purposely disregard your contractual obligations, you risk not getting paid at all.
If you need a Worcester, Massachusetts based business lawyer for a contract dispute, Murphy & Rudolf, LLP will fight for you and your rights. The firm of Murphy & Rudolf LLP represents businesses and employees in contractual disputes. If you are in need of a Worcester business or employment lawyer, please contact the law firm of Murphy & Rudolf LLP today.