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An introduction to South Carolina contract disputes

The high-publicity dispute between the State of South Carolina and technology giant Hewlett Packard currently being reviewed by the state's Office of Procurement has shined a light on the issue of business contract performance, causes of action when contracts aren't performed correctly and possible remedies available.

The issue currently before the Chief Procurement Office for Construction involves the state's implementation of a statewide computer network designed to keep track of child support orders. The system is supposed to cut down time and energy required to get parents ordered to pay child support to actually make those payments. It is designed to locate and punish "deadbeat" parents quicker and with less court involvement, helping custodial parents get the funds they need to meet the needs of their children.

The S.C. and HP contract dispute is a long time in the making, since the system in question was mandated by a 1988 federal law and should have been installed no later than 1997. Now, 17 years later, the system still hasn't been completed and the state faces millions in federal fines that will continue accruing until the state is compliant with the law.

More about contract disputes

South Carolina terminated their contract with Hewlett Packard back in August for alleged non-performance. Specifically, the state said that the system designed by HP failed to meet the needs of the state's courts and would not put the state in compliance with the law. HP denies any material non-performance, and blames the state for being unable to manage the project.

This situation is not limited to just the interactions between the state and one of the world's best-known computer manufacturers. Non-performance of contracts is one of the most common types of disputes, and can involve everything from improper fulfillment (sending the wrong product) to failing to meet contract specifications (making a 20-foot product when it should have been 30 feet long), and anything in between.

Business contract disputes can also arise over:

  • Non-payment issues
  • Termination of contracts without due cause
  • Fulfillment delays
  • Violation of non-compete agreements
  • Violation of lease or purchase agreement use provisions

Seeking legal help

When business contract disputes do arise, many people are unsure of what type of remedy they can seek. They may vaguely be aware of the possibility of bringing a lawsuit, but don't really know what that entails.

Are you a business owner facing a contract dispute? Would you like to learn more about your legal options, including the possibility of commercial litigation? Speaking with an experienced contract law attorney will provide more information about possible causes of action, what remedies could be available and what path is best for your unique situation.