In a contract dispute over a breach of contract, a person should bring up as many legal defenses as possible, including "affirmative defenses." It is normally insufficient to merely refuse legal misconduct. An individual must reply with every credible argument that validates his or her stance. Furthermore, if a person does not introduce defenses in the initial phases of a breach of contract lawsuit, he or she might be stopped from bringing them up afterward.
What is an Affirmative Defense to a Breach of Contract Claim?
Many defenses to a breach of contract claim are implied as "affirmative defenses." As a legal issue, this indicates that the party bringing up the defense, the individual sued for breach of contract, has the burden of establishing the defense, if the dispute proceeds to trial.
An affirmative defense does not oppose the initial claims or facts (for instance, that there was a breach of contract), but in its place alleges justifying facts or conditions that cause the breach claim to be moot. In other words, it is like stating, "Although I breached the contract, the other party should not be successful in the lawsuit." For instance, a teenage singer does not come for a concert and is accused of breaching his contract to supply entertainment services. Despite whether he breached the agreement, the young man might claim the affirmative defense that he needed the capacity to become involved in the contract in the first place because he is a minor.
Frequent Affirmative Defenses to a Breach of Contract Claim
How a person frames his or her legal defenses in a breach of contract lawsuit is restricted only by his or her attorney's mind and his or her capacity to finance legal cost. The following are a few of the most frequent defenses:
- The contract was presumed to be in writing. If the other side disputes that an oral agreement should be imposed against the individual, he or she could defend him or herself by maintaining that a "statute of frauds" expects the kind of contract - for instance, for the sale of real property - to be in writing.
- The contract is vague. If the necessary terms were never approved, a person could defend by claiming that the contract is vague. This implies either the parties did not think the deal was conclusive or that the court could not distinguish the basics, even by suggestion. Agreements to agree like letters of intent or agreements in principle are normally deemed vague and thus inapplicable, even though courts will need the parties to act in good faith to attain an agreement.
- There is an error. An individual can defend him or herself by establishing that a mutual mistake was made as to a basic fact in the contract. The person cannot use this defense we mentioning an error in judgment by one party.
- An individual needed capacity to contract. If the individual could not comprehend what he or she was doing when he or she became involved in the deal, the contract might be voidable.
- A person was fraudulently encouraged to become involved in a contract. A contract will be unacceptable if it was encouraged by lies, under duress, or by a reliable individual's undue influence.
- The contract is unacceptable. A contract will not be imposed if it is totally partial.
- Estoppel. When one party makes a statement absolving the agreement's performance and the other party depends on that statement, the initial party might be stopped from afterward refuting that statement and maintaining a breach.
- The contract is illegal. A contract is inapplicable if its object or the thing negotiated for is illegal or needs the destruction of records. Contracts that might ultimately assist illegal reasons will sometimes be imposed. A court will sometimes dissolve the unlawful feature from the agreement, leaving the remainder of the contract applicable.