This is a very difficult question to answer, because it hinges on the type and extent of the difficulty, the breach of contract at issue, the industry involved and the parties' course of dealing, course of performance and usage of trade. That said, there are couple of defenses to performance which may be applicable. The two most common ones include discharge by impossibility and discharge by impracticability.
The legal standard for services performed is different from the standard adopted by the Uniform Commercial Code that is applicable to the sale of goods. With respect to services rendered, an important question to ask is how badly was the service in fact performed, and what type of service contract does the particular situation involve. For instance, was the service so poor or variant that it amounted to near non-performance? As a general rule, under the common law adopted by many jurisdictions, substantial performance or conformity is all that is required. As long as the party in question has substantially performed, that party will not be deemed to have materially breached the agreement.
Because of the various intricate and legal considerations involved in defending a claim, it is strongly recommended that you hire an attorney to answer a lawsuit filed against you or your company. The importance of retaining an attorney cannot be overemphasized in this respect. You should also be mindful that absent special circumstances, you (or your attorney) will have twenty (20) calendar days to provide a response after being served with a summons and a complaint.
Breach of Contract occurs when a party to an agreement who has a duty to perform, refuses to perform without legal justification. A breach of contract may also arise if one party somehow prevents the performance of the other party, interferes, or makes it impossible for the other party to perform its promises and obligations. In addition, if a party makes it clear prior to time of performance that it will not be performing its end of the bargain when performance becomes due, the party to whom performance is owed may consider the contract breached.
Yes, verbal agreements are enforceable in the eyes of the law. While there are certain limitations and exceptions to this rule, such as the application of the Statute of Frauds requiring certain agreements to be in writing, courts will in general uphold verbal contracts. However, whether a verbal contract as a matter of convenience is a good idea, is an entirely separate issue.
What constitutes a minor or a material breach of contract depends on totality of circumstances and should always be ascertained on individual case bases. A breach of contract is considered material when it goes to or impacts a matter that parties consider to be fundamental to the agreement. While this sounds straight forward, ascertaining the materiality of the breach can often be tricky, and many courts have considered certain common factors to help make a determination. One of the key considerations is the amount of performance rendered by the breaching party prior to, and the benefit(s) obtained by the non-breaching party at the time of the breach. Other considerations include compensation, certainty of future performance by the breaching party, intentionality, the hardship involved in finding materiality, certain contractual provisions specifying applicable remedy and other considerations that may be relevant to the particular circumstances involved.
Unlike minor breach, a material breach of contract allows the non-breaching party to seize performance. This does not mean that a minor breach of contract will not give rise to liability against the breaching party. The innocent party may still pursue damages as a result of the minor breach, but unlike material breach, minor breach does not discharge the contract, so the non-breaching party must still perform its end of the bargain. Depending on the circumstances of the case, if the breach is minor, the non-breaching party may nevertheless be permitted to temporarily suspend performance until the minor breach has been cured. When dealing with material breach of installment contracts, in addition to seeking recovery, the non-breaching party can choose to either terminate the entire agreement or let it continue. Parties to an agreement should be cognizant of certain types of contractual terms that define what constitutes a material breach and provide applicable remedy or remedies in the event of a breach (liquidated damages).
For more detailed information on breach of contract under Florida Law, please visit our breach of contract page. Breach of contract issues are frequently complicated and need to be handled by an experienced business attorney to ensure that your interests are properly protected. Jonathan K. Allen, our highly experienced Central Florida breach of contract attorney, have helped many business owners in the past and would be honored to help you to. Call us today at (407) 205-2330 or fill out the online form provided on this page and we will contact you shortly. We value your privacy and will keep any information you provide strictly confidential.
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