Breach of Contract

12/04/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

A breach of contract is a violation of any of the agreed-upon terms and conditions of a binding contract. The breach could be anything from a late payment to a more serious violation such as the failure to deliver a promised asset. A contract is binding and will hold weight if taken to court. To successfully claim a breach of contract, it is imperative to be able to prove that the breach occurred.

A breach of contract is when one party breaks the terms of an agreement between two or more parties. This includes when an obligation that is stated in the contract is not completed on time you are late with a rent payment, or when it is not fulfilled at all a tenant vacates their apartment owing six-months’ back rent.

Types of Breach of Contract

  1. Partial Breach

A partial breach, or failure to perform or provide some immaterial provision of the contract, may allow the aggrieved party to sue, though only for “actual damages.”

For example:  A homeowner hires a contractor to put a pond in his backyard, showing the contractor the black liner her would like installed under the sand. The contractor instead installs a blue liner of the same design and thickness, which is totally hidden from view. The contractor may have breached the precise terms of the contract, but the homeowner cannot ask that the contractor be ordered to take out the pond and start over with the black liner.

The homeowner could ask that the contractor be ordered to refund the difference in price between the requested black liner and the installed blue liner. In this case, because the color of the liner has no affect on functionality, and the price was basically the same, the difference in value, or “actual damages,” is zero.

  1. Material Breach of Contract

Failure of one party to perform his obligations under the contract in such a way that the value of the contract is destroyed, exposes that party to liability for breach of contract damages. For example, if the contractor in the above example had used thin plastic not intended for the rigors of maintaining a pond, which could not be expected to last as long as the pond liner, the homeowner might recover the actual cost to correct the material breach, which would include removing the pond and replacing the liner.

A material breach of contract may relieve the aggrieved party of his own obligations under the contract, and give him the right to sue for damages. Such a total breakdown of the material provisions of a contract may be referred to as a “fundamental” or “repudiatory” breach.

  1. Anticipatory Breach of Contract

Anticipatory breach, also known as “anticipatory repudiation,” occurs when one party to a contract stops acting in accordance with the contract, leading the other party to believe he has no intention of fulfilling his part of the agreement. In this case, the breaching party may give such an impression by his actions, or failure to act, such as failing to produce an ordered item, refusing to accept payment, or somehow making it obvious that he cannot or will not fulfill the terms of the contract. An anticipatory breach of contract enables the non-breaching party to end the contract and sue for breach of contract damages without waiting for the actual breach to occur. For example:

Jane agrees to sell her antique sewing machine to Amanda, and the two agree on the purchase price of $1,000, the sale to occur on May 1st. On April 25th, Amanda tells Jane that she cannot come up with the money on time. Following this communication, Jane can reasonably assume that Amanda is in anticipatory breach. This enables Jane to sell the sewing machine to someone else, or potentially file a lawsuit against Amanda for breach of contract.

  1. Specific Performance

In certain cases, an aggrieved party may not be made whole through the award of monetary damages. He may instead request the court to order “specific performance” of the terms of the contract. Specific performance may be any court-ordered action, forcing the breaching party to perform or provide exactly what was agreed to in the contract. Specific performance is most often ordered in a contract involving something for which a value is difficult to determine, such as land or an unusual or rare item of personal property.

Sometimes the process for dealing with a breach of contract is written in the original contract. For example, a contract may state that in the event of late payment, the offender must pay a $25 fee along with the missed payment. If the consequences for a specific violation are not included in the contract, then the parties involved may settle the situation among themselves, which could lead to a new contract, adjudication, or another type of resolution.