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Can you use these defenses in your breach of contract case?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Construction Law

You need contracts to ensure that your business operates as smoothly as possible. But even the most thoroughly negotiated agreements can end up in heated disputes, with each side accusing the other of breach.

In these circumstances, you need to know how to aggressively defend yourself. If you don’t, then you might be found liable for the other party’s damages, which can be extraordinarily costly to your business’s bottom line and your reputation.

But defending against a breach of contract claim can be more challenging than it seems at first blush. For that reason, you might find it beneficial to learn more about the defenses available to you and how to best use them to your advantage. We hope this post will provide some insight in that regard.

How can you build your breach of contract defense?

The first step is to know the defense options that are available to you. This includes each of the following:

  • The contract wasn’t reduced to writing: In many instances, the court isn’t going to find that you breached a contract unless the terms that are alleged to have been breached were put into writing and agreed to. So, you might be able to win your case by simply showing that no written contract’s been breached.
  • The contract is vague, ambiguous, or otherwise indefinite: A breach of contract is going to require a showing that you violated clear terms of the contract. But if those terms aren’t clear at all, then you might be able to argue that those terms shouldn’t be deemed legally enforceable.
  • Mistake: If there was a misunderstanding as to key elements of the contract, then you might be able to rescind the contract. However, oftentimes you’re going to be in a better position to show that there was a mutual mistake, which can be challenging to do in many circumstances.
  • Fraudulent misrepresentation: This is seen often in contract law. Here, an intentional lie or misrepresentation lures you into the contractual arrangement to your detriment. If you can show that those circumstances exist, then you might be able to defend against allegations of breach by arguing that the contract was never enforceable to begin with.
  • Impossibility: There are a lot of factors that contribute to the progress of a construction project. Some of them can lead to unforeseen delays, while others might make it impossible for you to comply with the terms of a contract. In the later scenarios, you might be able to show that the only reason you breached a contractual term is because it was impossible to comply with.
  • Waiver: The other party’s actions might constitute a waiver, meaning that they forfeited the ability to claim breach of contract. This can occur when the other party expresses approval of deviation from a contract term, or when they continue to proceed with the project without making an issue of the breach despite having knowledge of it. This is going to be a case-by-case determination, though, so you’ll need to make sure you have strong evidence to support your assertions here.

Don’t let a breach of contract case devastate your business

A poor outcome in a breach of contract case, especially in the context of construction law, can leave you and your business in a bad position where your income on a project is ceased, your financial stability is rocked, and your reputation is tarnished. You don’t deserve that to happen to your business, which is why now is the time to start building the defense that you need in your case.

Although that might be stressful to think about, you can be proactive in learning more about these types of cases and what you can do to develop a strong legal strategy.