The right Connecticut contract lawyer can help you better understand how contract law applies to your business and develop standard contracts that will protect your needs. Through Priori Legal's vetted network of Connecticut contract attorneys, you can connect with an experienced attorney who can help you draft and negotiate the full suite of contracts your business needs.
Defining Contracts in Connecticut
A contract in Connecticut is valid if there is an offer, acceptance of that offer, and some form of payment or “consideration.” This is very wide on purpose, so any agreement can be held up as valid. In fact, Connecticut courts have a large interest in enforcing any contract, no matter how informally drafted. Contracts can be written on the back of a napkin or drafted formally over many pages by a Connecticut contract lawyer. While the outcome of any contract dispute involving a few lines on the back of a napkin may be open to more interpretation under Connecticut contract law than a carefully drafted document, courts in Connecticut find both to be equally enforceable.
Common Types of Contracts under Connecticut Contract Law
Most contracts are more traditionally drafted, but even standard contracts come in many forms. While contracts all share certain essential elements, their exact structure, provisions, and terminology differ greatly. The following are some of the most common types of contracts in Connecticut.
Contracts between two businesses for the provision of goods and services are among the most common in Connecticut, yet no two will be exactly the same. Very few laws dictate what can and cannot be contained within B2B contracts, as there is an assumption that the parties both have the ability to ensure their interests are well-represented in the final draft. The primary objective of contract law governing business contracts in Connecticut is to enforce the intention of the parties. All other statutes simply curb obvious fraud or abuse.
Connecticut law is commonly used as the governing law in contracts with parties in different countries. International contracts can involve a party who is from Connecticut, but it does not have to. Anyone can choose Connecticut as the legal jurisdiction followed when interpreting the contract. The United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) forms secondary law governing all international contracts in Connecticut between parties in member states. With the CISG as the default after what is specified by the parties within the contract, legal outcomes in international contract disputes in Connecticut are more easily predictable for parties from other jurisdictions. It’s important to note that even if you reject the CISG, in favor of Connecticut law, many of the legal defaults will be the same.
Consumer contracts are very similar to business contracts, except that they are more limited in the terms permitted. Because consumer customer contracts involve the average consumer in situations where they have much less ability to negotiate terms and less legal sophistication, Connecticut consumer protection laws limit what can be contained in these agreements. The FTC and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection dictate these limitations. Generally speaking, contracts cannot overly favor the company that drafted the agreement and consumers are protected from arbitration-only clauses—both of which would be legal in other types of contracts.
Under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, consumer protections are made much stronger than in some other states. It is important that any standard contract strictly comply with Connecticut contract law and consumer protections laws, as any violations can lead to large punitive damages. A Connecticut contract lawyer will be able to best help you ensure compliance.
Breach of Contract Claims
Contracts are enforceable in Connecticut courts. If there is a material breach of the contract by either party, the wronged party can collect damages for losses, as well as interest, attorneys’ fees, punitive damages, and even forced performance. Of course, you must have cause before bring a breach of contract lawsuit in Connecticut. This requires proving four simple elements:
The parties entered into a valid contract.
The plaintiff did fulfilled their duties under the contract.
The defendant did not fulfill their duties under the contract.
The plaintiff was harmed in some way by the defendant’s failure to perform on the contract as promised.
Are oral contracts legal in Connecticut?
Yes. If you can prove that an oral agreement that meets the essential requirements of a contract exists, it can be enforced.
What is a “rolling” contract and is it legal in Connecticut?
A rolling contract is a contract completed not by purchasing an item per se, but rather by reading terms on a package and then using the product. Many consumer goods, like computers, phones, and appliances, include rolling contracts. Rolling contracts are legal under the Uniform Commercial Code and Connecticut law, but they have been strongly protested by some. There is a good chance that the law regarding this kinds of delayed terms may be changed in the future in Connecticut, so sellers of such goods should carefully watch these reforms as they are set in place.