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Common Contract Breach Defenses

When one party breaches a contract, it can be costly for the other party involved. Depending on the situation, there are a variety of defenses that can be used to fight a breach of contract claim. This article will highlight some of the most common defenses used in business disputes. If you are facing a breach of contract claim, it is important to understand these defenses and how they may apply to your situation. Contact an experienced Florida business attorney for more information.

Top Defenses to a Breach of Contract Claim

There are a number of common defenses to a breach of contract claim. Some of the most common include:

Lack of Performance

This defense asserts that the party alleging the breach did not perform their obligations as outlined in the contract. For example, if Party A agreed to sell Party B 500 widgets and only delivered 400 widgets, then Party A may be able to raise lack of performance as a defense if Party B asserts that they breached the contract by failing to deliver all 500 widgets.

Impossibility or Impracticality

This defense is based on the idea that it was impossible for a party to perform their obligations under the contract. This defense cannot be used if the impossibility was caused by the actions of the party claiming impossibility.

Improper Performance

This defense is based on a claim that although one party performed their obligations under the contract, they did not do so in a way that was consistent with the contract. 

Frustration of Purpose

This defense can be raised when one party to a contract is unable to fulfill its obligations due to unforeseen circumstances. This defense may be available when the event that frustrates the purpose of the contract is not caused by either party, is not foreseeable, and is beyond the control of either party. 

Lack of Capacity

This defense is based on the idea that either minors or those who are mentally incompetent cannot legally enter into a contract. Therefore, they cannot be held liable for breach of contract. 

Undue Influence or Duress

This defense is based on the idea that one party coerced another party into entering into a contract through improper means. 

Fraud and Misrepresentation

This defense is based on the idea that one party lied or misrepresented the true terms of their contract in order to get another party to enter into it. 

Unconscionability

This defense is based on the idea that a contract is so unfair or one-sided that it cannot be enforced. 

Unilateral or Mutual Mistake

Unilateral and mutual mistakes are two commonly asserted contract defenses. In both cases, there has been a misunderstanding between the parties regarding an important aspect of their agreement. 

In unilateral mistake, only one party is mistaken about the terms of the contract. 

In mutual mistake, both parties are mistaken about an important aspect of the contract. 

Lack of Consent

The parties to a contract must have the capacity or ability to consent in order for an agreement to be valid. If that consent is forced by fraud, duress, or undue influence, it can render any subsequent agreement void or unenforceable. In other words for there to be consideration on both sides of a contract each party must have the ability to make a choice. A court will find that this capacity is lacking if an individual was unable to understand what he or she was doing because of mental incapacity, intoxication, youth, duress, or undue influence.

Statute of Frauds

A common contract breach defense is the Statute of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds is a law that requires some types of contracts to be in writing in order to be enforceable. This law exists to prevent people from making fraudulent claims about agreements that were never actually made. There are several different types of contracts that are covered by the Statute of Frauds, including contracts for the sale of goods worth more than $500, contracts that cannot be completed within one year, and contracts for the sale of land or real estate. 

Each of these defenses has its own specific requirements in order to be successful. It is important to consult with an attorney if you are facing a breach of contract claim to determine which defense may be the best fit for your situation. Contact our breach of contract attorneys today for a consultation.