In most cases, a party initiates a civil lawsuit because it has been harmed and it seeks an award of money damages to compensate it for the harm it suffered. Sometimes, though, the type of harm that is caused by a breach of a contract cannot be corrected through an award of money damages, regardless of the amount. When that is the case, such as in disputes over parcels of real estate, the injured party may seek other remedies, like a court order demanding that the other party complete the performance promised in the contract. This is called specific performance, and it can be difficult to obtain unless your case meets a exact set of criteria. If you have been harmed by another party’s breach of a real estate contract, make sure you have skilled Atlanta real estate attorneys on your side to protect your interests.
One example of a specific performance case was a litigation action recently decided by the Court of Appeals. In the summer of 2016, a man named Rahmat entered into a contractual agreement to purchase a shopping mall plaza from a family limited partnership. The buyer paid earnest money and also paid for an environmental assessment. Furthermore, the buyer allegedly put up more than $450,000 of the property’s $525,000 sale price. After the two sides held a meeting to talk about “expenses related to the ownership and management of the property,” the seller abruptly canceled the contract.
The buyer sued for specific performance. Specific performance, if awarded by a court, means that a reluctant contractual party is ordered by the court to perform as it had promised within the underlying agreement. Specific performance is a rare outcome and requires the judge to determine that an award of money damages could not provide proper compensation to the party allegedly victimized by the breach of the contract. A plaintiff is more likely to obtain an order of specific performance in a real estate sale dispute than in many other types of litigation actions. That is because of the inherently unique nature of a parcel of real estate.