Ask An Attorney: Civil Lawsuits

In Pennsylvania, there are two general types of civil lawsuits that can brought in a court of law. A lawsuit can be based on a contract or based on a tort. This month’s article will define the basic concepts of a contract. I will explain the meaning of various torts in subsequent articles.

Essentially, a contract is a legally enforceable agreement between parties. A contract can either be written down or an oral agreement. There are various elements that must be present in order for a legally enforceable agreement to exist in Pennsylvania. Firstly, there must be an offer by a party, and acceptance of that offer by another party. An offer is an objective manifestation of intent to be bound by an agreement. For instance, if a Brighton Heights resident may offer to sell and deliver their used I-Pad for $100.00 to a Troy Hill resident. If the Troy Hill resident delivers the $100.00, then they have accepted the Brighton Heights resident’s offer.

Secondly, consideration must be present for a valid contract. Consideration is something, (like an act, a promise to act, forbearance, money and etc.) bargained for or received by each party in an agreement that motivates a party to do a legal act. In the above example, the payment of $100.00 is the consideration that motivates the delivery of the I-Pad.

Generally, a lawsuit for breach of contract, essentially a broken promise by one of the parties, usually stem from inadequate consideration, failure to perform a service, poor performance of a promise and etc. The proper damages for a breach of contract place the aggrieved party in the position they expected to be in if the contract was properly performed. If you have any questions concerning contract law, please feel free to give may office a call.

If you have any issues that you would like discussed in the next issue of the Northside Chronicle, please click here to contact Matthew Gailey through our website or give me a call at (412)223-6712.

Originally published in “The Northside Chronicle,”  August 2017 edition.

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