Top 5 Breach of Contract Cases You Need To Know

Top breach of contract cases in the United States
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Never heard of a breach of contract before? Do you know some of the most popular breaches of contract cases in the United States and the United Kingdom? 

Breach of contract is a legal cause of action when an agreement binding two or more parties is not honored by one or more parties. This is often a case when a party’s performance is impacted by the non-performance of other parties or interference from them.

If there is a breach of contract, the party accused of breaching the contract will pay for the resulting damages the breach caused to the party on the receiving end of the contract breached.

There are situations where it could be an anticipatory breach of contract. An anticipatory breach of contract is an action that shows one party’s intention to fail to fulfill its contractual obligations to another party.

You might want to file an anticipatory breach of contract case when you notice the following:

  • One party’s unwillingness to accept payment.
  • One party’s failure to produce a certain item or get the right team onboard the project both of you are working together on.
  • An obvious indication of his or her intent not to fulfill the agreement’s terms.

This article reveals a list of five (5) breach of contract cases in the United States of America in the past few years.

1. Apple and Gerard Williams

Apple sued its former chief architect, Gerard Williams, for breach of contract on the grounds he started his own chip-design company while he was still staff at Apple.

Gerard Williams was in charge of designing the iPhone and iPad microprocessors. Williams began working with Apple in 2010 and Apple claims he began working on his own chip-design company, Nuvia while working at Apple.

Part of Apple’s lawsuit argues that Williams used some of its employees to set up Nuvia. 

Apple said “Rather than exploiting the technology he was working on for Apple, Gerard Williams secretly considered how he could take an opportunity to exploit that technology from Apple. By 2018, Williams had started his new venture on Apple’s dime.”

Gerard Williams created Apple’s A7 processor which was used in the iPhone 5s model and the A12x chip used in iPads. 

Apple sought unspecified damages claiming Williams’s actions amounted to a breach of duty and loyalty. 

Williams countered the lawsuit from Apple claiming that his contract with the electronic giant had incomplete clauses that violated the California state law.

Related: Contract Breach: Types and How Startups Can Report

2. Netflix and Relativity Media 

In 2018, Netflix filed a complaint against Relativity Media wherein they accused the studio of infringing the terms agreed upon in its multi-year contract. The multi-year contract between Netflix and Relativity Media was supposed to be exclusive content to the streaming service.

Netflix filed a breach of contract claim because five (5) films from Relativity Media which were exclusively licensed to the streaming service were shown on other platforms such as Amazon and Starz.

Relativity Media were asked to pay the sum of $9.6 million dollars as a refund for distributing The Lazarus Effect, The Woman In Black 2, Angel of Death and Beyond the Lights. Additionally, they were asked to pay $2.9 million for licensing two movies: And So It Goes, and Hector and the Search For Happiness to Starz.

Breach of contract by Relativity and Netflix

In response to the lawsuit filed against them, Relativity Media claims the events happened inadvertently.

3. Gilead and the US Government

Gilead Science, Inc. filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the government of the United States of America in the court of Federal claims. It was a popular breach of contract case back then in the United States.

In the lawsuit, Gilead Sciences alleged that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) violated four Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) and a Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA).

The claims filed against the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention states that the collaboration spanned for 15 years. By the MTAs and CTA contract, Gilead was to give the CDC significant quantities of antiretroviral agents free of charge for research.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was supposed to notify Gilead if the research produced any discovery, innovation, or ideas.

The terms of CTA prohibited the government agency from seeking patents in connection to inventions developed from the drugs the Pharmaceuticals were offering. The lawsuit filing came on the heels of obvious infringements on the provisions of the MTAs and CTA contracts by the state.

Related: 5 Business Litigation Facts You Probably Never Heard Of

4. Amazon Studios and Woody Allen

Woody Allen was accused of raping his adopted daughter, an event that sent the media world into a frenzy.

Before the allegations of rape leveled against Allen surfaced, he and Amazon studios had a four-picture movie deal in the place. This deal was ended immediately the news of Allen’s rape scandal came up.

Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, was believed to have been raped by the movie director and Amazon filed for a contract breach.

At the time of canceling their deal, Amazon Studios owed Allen the sum of USD 68 million in guaranteed payment. Amazon also canceled the release of Allen’s movie “A Rainy Day in New York” in 2018.

A Federal High Court in New York City dismissed the legal action. The case dismissal was termed “voluntarily dismissed with prejudice”. This means both Woody Allen and Amazon studios agreed to end the lawsuit and in doing so would never return to court again over the issues already resolved.

5. Patterson-Stevens Inc. and State 

The officials of Jamestown, Virginia who hired Patterson-Stevens Inc. of Tonawanda were dragged to court on claims of a contract breach.

Patterson-Stevens were given a contract by the state to renovate the Tracy Plaza and according to the company, they suffered monetary damages to the tune of $306,048. 

The breached contract terms when they delayed the commencement of the renovation work, issued a stop-work order, interfered with Patterson-Stevens’ performance of the contract, improperly withholding payment, failing to pay or rejecting invoice and delaying the completion of the contract long after the date of completion had passed.

Patterson filed the lawsuit against the state in State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County, demanding the payment of the $306,048 while adding that interest fees, attorney fees, costs and disbursement and any other payment deemed necessary should be taken care of by the state.

Related: 7 Ways to Protect Your Business from Getting Sued by Employees


Breach of contract happens from time to time, especially when two or more parties are involved. But if your goal is to get the best from every transaction and get more referrers, you must learn to keep to the terms of the agreement. Most cases of breach of contract are because someone defaulted.

In subsequent articles, we will discuss remedies for breach of contract like compensatory damages which is the most common remedy for breach of contract, consequences of a breach of contract and how to win any breach of contract case in court with ease.

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Emenike Emmanuel
I am a multiple Award-winning blogger, CEO of Entrepreneur Business Blog, Chief Evangelist of Ebusinessroom Ventures, Lead Coach of The Excellent Entrepreneurs' Network (TEEN) and Convenor of #NaijaSitUp. My business is to help you start, manage and grow a profitable and sustainable business using digital marketing strategies. I have been featured and mentioned on platforms like, BloggingTips, StarterStory, StatusBrew, Realty Times, Emerald TV, SmartBCamp, Blogging from Paradise, Write Worldwide, Enterprise Boom, Atang Magazine, etc. In 2019, my blog won the Best Digital Media Award from AB Afrikpreneur. When you want to hire a professional to handle your online marketing, I'm your go-to-expert you can speak to. In 2019, I won the Blogger of the Year from the Global Excellence in Marketing Awards, USA and my brainchild, EBB won the Best Digital Media Award at the AB Afrikpreneur Awards. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn with this handle, @EmenikeNg

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