8 Common Affirmative Defenses For Breach Of Contract Lawsuits Breach of contract lawsuits Breach of contract lawsuits are common in the business world, but they can also be complicated. To win a breach of contract suit, you must present affirmative defenses to justify your actions and explain why you did or did not break the contract in question for an acceptable reason. If your company is involved in breach of contract lawsuits, it is important to be aware of the most commonly used affirmative defenses so that you and your lawyer can build the strongest case possible and be prepared for any defenses your opponent may use against you. Remember that affirmative defenses must be presented at the beginningof your case and that many judges will bar you from presenting additional affirmative defenses once the suit has gone to court. Affirmative Defenses to Know There are eight affirmative defenses that are used in almost all breach of contract lawsuits. Knowing them will help you to build a solid case against your opponent and avoid being found guilty of the charges. The common affirmative defenses you should know include the following: The contract was indefinite – This means that the contract and its final terms were never actually agreed upon, and while you may have discussed elements of it with the other party, you did not consider the deal or contract to be final. For this defense to be used successfully, the court must not be able to discern the terms of your contract upon reading it. The contract was not in writing – In cases of verbal contracts you can often argue that the agreement was not official or final because it was not put in writing. As most state laws require contracts to be written and signed, this is often a successful defense. There was a mistake in the contract – If there is a mutual mistake within the contract or its terms, this may serve as an affirmative defense, but both parties must have the same mistake in their contract in order for this defense to be taken into consideration. You did not have the capacity to enter the contract – This means that you lacked the capacity to fully understand the contract and its terms at the time of the contract’s signing. This is often a successful defense for minors or those with mental health issues. You entered into the contract because of deceit or fraud – If the other party lied, deceived, or misrepresented themselves in order to procure the contract, this may be used as an affirmative defense. Additionally, contracts signed under duress may also qualify. The contract was not legal – If the contract pertains to any illegal goods, violates any state or federal laws, or requires illegal actions in order to be fulfilled, the contract is unenforceable and therefore considered null and void. The contract was unconscionable – Contracts that are grossly unfair or severely unbalanced in value for one party may qualify for this affirmative defense. This is common in situations when one party has more bargaining power than the other. Estoppel – Estoppel may be used as an affirmative defense if one party told the other that they would forgo the terms of the contract, allow a grace period, or agree to some other change to the contract itself and then filed a breach of contract suit. Breach Of Contract Lawsuits If your company is involved in any breach of contract lawsuits, make sure you’re ready for the courtroom by studying these eight common affirmative defenses and hiring an experienced litigation attorney for help. Contact de la Riva and Associates today to find out what we can do for you and to get started on your case.

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