Contract & Construction Law Brief Summary

Contract Lawyer Austin Texas

Nov 24, 2012 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Contract Law


In construing a written contract, the court's primary concern is to ascertain the true intentions of the parties as expressed in the instrument. We presume the parties to the contract intended every clause to have some effect.  Courts give contract terms their plain, ordinary, and generally accepted meanings unless the contract itself shows that the parties intended to use terms in a technical or different sense.  We construe contracts from a utilitarian standpoint, bearing in mind the particular business activity the contracting parties seek to serve.  We will avoid, whenever possible and proper, a construction that is unreasonable, inequitable, and oppressive. 

A contract is ambiguous when its meaning is uncertain and doubtful or reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation. A contract is not ambiguous simply because the parties advance conflicting interpretations. We determine whether a contract is ambiguous by looking to the contract as a whole in light of the circumstances present when the parties executed it. The contract is not ambiguous if it can be given a certain or definite meaning.  Ultimately, courts must enforce contract terms as written and may not rewrite contracts or add to their language under the guise of interpretation. 

To recover in quantum meruit, a claimant must prove (1) valuable services were rendered or materials furnished; (2) for the person sought to be charged; (3) which services and materials were accepted by the person sought to be charged; (4) under such circumstances as reasonably notified the person sought to be charged that the plaintiff in performing such services was expecting to be paid by the person sought to be charged.

Parties to a contract are free to limit or modify the remedies available for breach of their agreement. If the parties agree to a contractual remedy, a court will enforce that remedy unless it is illegal or against public policy. This is part of our duty to determine and enforce the true intent of the parties involved.

A prevailing party on a breach-of-contract claim may recover "reasonable" attorney's fees.

Weaver v. Jamar, (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.], 2012).

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