Is there a time limit in Florida for breach of contract claims?

Business deals these days aren’t just cemented with a smile and a handshake. These days business owners in Jacksonville will enter into a written contract that outlines what each party is obligated to do, and what they will get in return. In fact, some might say that contracts are one of the main pillars of running a successful business.

Unfortunately, we cannot always predict the future or control the actions of others. Sometimes a party fails to follow the terms of the contract, leading to a breach of contract. When this happens, the non-breaching party may want to pursue business litigation. However, do they have an unlimited amount of time in which to do so?

The answer is no. Under Florida law there is a statute of limitations when it comes to breach of contract claims. A statute of limitations is the time period in which an aggrieved party has to file a lawsuit. Once this time period has passed, it is no longer possible to pursue legal action based on the facts of that case. In Florida the statute of limitations for breach of contract lawsuits is five years for written contracts, four years for oral contracts and one year if the aggrieved party is seeking specific performance.

Businesses in Florida can enter into many different kinds of contracts. They can have contracts with suppliers, sales contracts, purchase orders, partnership agreements, employment contracts and many more. One thing all these contracts have in common, however, is that the failure of one side to uphold their end of the bargain can cause the aggrieved party to suffer significant financial damages. Depending on the circumstances, some remedies for a breach of contract claim might include specific performance, restitution, monetary damages or rescission of the contract. What type of remedy is appropriate will depend on the facts of the case.

So, if a business alleging breach of contract wishes to pursue one of the above remedies, it will have to do so within the applicable statute of limitations. The failure to do so could bar their ability to bring a lawsuit altogether. Therefore, businesses should be cognizant of how long they have to pursue business litigation for breach of contract or other legal issues they may face.

Source: FindLaw, “Florida Civil Statute of Limitations Laws,” accessed April 3, 2018