Defenses to and Requirements of a Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Breach of Contract

Breach of contract is a legal term that refers to the violation of the conditions of a contract when a contracting party refuses to uphold its obligations as stated in the terms of the agreement.

What Does Breach of Contract Involve?

Breach of contract can sometimes involve a party preventing another from fulfilling their promises according to the agreement.

How Can a Contract Be Breached?

Part or the entirety of a contract can be breached.

When Do Contracts End?

Contracts generally end when the parties have performed their contractual duties. However, a party may refuse to completely fulfill its promises according to the provisions of the agreement.

What Is the Most Common Reason Contract Disputes Are Brought to Court?

The main cause of contract disputes that go to court is a breach of contract.

General Requirements

What Are the Requirements Before a Breach of Contract Suit Will Be Upheld by a Court?

A breach of contract must satisfy some requirements for it to be upheld by the courts. These include:

  • The contract must be valid.
  • It must have all the basic elements of a contract under law.
  • The suing party must prove to the court that the defendant breached the terms of the contract.
  • The suing party must have fulfilled all his obligations in the contract.
  • The plaintiff must serve the defendant a notice of the breach before bringing the issue before a court. Its preferred for the notice to be in writing as it's easier to present it in court as evidence.

Types of Breach of Contract

Breach of contract can be:

  • Material.
  • Partial.
  • Anticipatory.

Material Breach of Contract

A material breach of contract occurs where there is enough evidence to free the plaintiff of his contractual obligations.

Partial Breach

A partial breach is less weighty, and the aggrieved party still has an obligation to fulfill his agreement.

Anticipatory Breach

An anticipatory breach occurs where the aggrieved party, due to the action or inaction of the offending party, has a suspicion they won't fulfill their duties. It is challenging to prove anticipatory breaches in court.

Defenses to a Breach of Contract Lawsuit


Defense, regarding breach of contract, is the legal right of the offender or defendant to provide a justification for his actions or reasons why the court should not entertain the issue.


Frauds occur when a party deliberately misrepresents the truth or hides an important fact to mislead another party to act against their self-interest.

Does the Fraud Need to Be Deliberate?

The defendant must establish the invalidity of the contract by proving to the court that the plaintiff deliberately concealed important information or made false statements regarding a material fact.

When Does Duress Occur?

Duress occurs when a party forces another to enter into a contract by threatening them with physical harm or related actions.

Why Can Duress Invalidate a Contract?

Duress can render a contract invalid as both parties failed to fulfill an important element of a contract which requires them to sign out of their free will.

Undue Influence

Undue influence occurs where one party has more leverage than the other and uses its clout or advantage to compel the other to sign the contract.

How Can a Mistake Invalidate a Contract?

A mistake made by the offending party is not sufficient to invalidate a contract and excuse it from a breach of contract lawsuit. However, a contract may be invalidated if the defendant can prove to the court that both parties committed an error in the contentious issue.

How Can Statute of Limitations Invalidate a Contract?

The statute of limitations imposes deadlines for filing cases. If the defendant can establish in court that the statute of limitations applicable to that particular case has expired, the court may dismiss the lawsuit.

What Is the Delaware Breach of Contract Statute of Limitations?

The typical statutes of limitation for breach of contract in Delaware is three years from the date the defendant committed the breach. However, this period can be shortened.

Also, certain contracts can have statutes of limitation with a twenty-year deadline. In some cases involving the sale of UCC regulated goods, the statute of limitations is four years. Depending on the peculiarities of each case, the statute of limitations might be shorter.

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