You should establish as many legal arguments as feasible in a contract dispute over a violation of the agreement, including “affirmative defenses.” It’s rarely enough to deny legal misconduct merely; you’ll need to back up your claim with every possible explanation. You may also be barred from bringing arguments afterward if you don’t raise them early in a breach of contract litigation. Thus, one must consult business dispute lawyer Virginia Beach to resolve such issues.
This article outlines affirmative defenses and discusses the several types of legal defenses that can be employed in relation to a breach of contract lawsuit.
What Is a Breach of Contract Claim’s Affirmative Defense?
The majority of breach of contract defenses is known as “affirmative defenses.” In legal terms, this means that if the disagreement gets to trial, the party presenting the defense bears the burden of establishing the case.
An affirmative defense states mitigating factors or conditions that make the breach claim irrelevant rather than contesting the basic claims or facts. To put it another way, it’s like stating, “Even if I broke the contract, the other party shouldn’t win the case.”
Affirmative Defenses to a Claim of Breach of Contract
Only your partnership dispute lawyer Virginia Beach creativity limits how you phrase your legal arguments in a breach of contract action. The following are some of the most frequent defenses.
The agreement was meant to be written down: Suppose the opposing party contends that an oral contract should be implemented upon you. In that case, you may be capable of defending yourself by asserting that a state statute (called the “Statute of Frauds”) mandates the kind of transaction — such as a real estate sale — to be in writing.
The contract has no end date: You might be able to argue that the agreement is everlasting if the key elements were never consented upon. This suggests that either the parties did not believe the agreement to be definitive or that a tribunal could not determine the fundamentals, even if only by inference (for instance, if the length of an agreement or the specifications for a building project are unclear). Although courts will expect the parties to engage in good faith to establish an agreement, commitments to agree (such as signed agreements or contracts in principle) are typically regarded indefinite and unenforceable.
There is an error: You can protect yourself by demonstrating that both parties made a shared error about an essential fact in the contract, such as the legitimacy of a painting. This defense does not apply when one party makes an error in judgment.
You didn’t have the ability to draft contract: The contract may be unenforceable if you lack competency. In the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities, this defense is most likely to prevail.
You were persuaded to sign a contract under duress. A contract is void if it was induced by deception, coercion, or the undue influence of a trusted person.
The agreement is unethical: If a contract is outrageously unjust, it will not be enforced. This nearly usually happens when negotiating power is substantially skewed, and the stronger side takes advantage by imposing unfair restrictions, provisions, or waivers on the weaker party.
Estoppel: When one entity issues a statement justifying the execution of the contract and the other party believes in it, the first party may be barred from subsequently disputing the statement and seeking a breach. For instance, if a bank president contacts a homeowner and promises that the bank will not seize for six months so that the homeowner can sell the house, the bank will be held to its word.
The contract is unenforceable: If the contract’s goal or the item negotiated for is unlawful, such as violating tax rules, or requiring the deletion of documents, the contract is invalid. In some cases, agreements that may indirectly help criminal goals may be enforced, such as a commitment to supply gaming machines, even if they are banned in some places. A court may sometimes separate the unlawful portion of a contract from the remainder of the agreement, making the rest of the deal enforceable.