5 Breach of Contract Defenses

by Fred Abramson on September 18, 2009 · 0 comments

Imagine sitting in your office. I know, this is probably not difficult to imagine. You are busy working on a proposal that would transform your business.  You are listening to Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor and you are in the zone.

Your secretary then walks into your office and proclaims:  “We have been served with a lawsuit.”  Your heart begins to race.  You look at the plaintiff’s name…  Rats, Inc.  You remember doing business with them a few years ago.   The name  Rats, Inc. should have alerted you to potential trouble.   You wonder how you can exterminate Rats, Inc.

There are many defenses to breach of contract cases. Here are a few basic defenses that may be able to assert.

  1. There were no damages. For example, if you are in the furniture and you delivered a new desk to Rats, Inc. a few days later than promised, it would be a nuisance but there would be no real damages.
  2. The plaintiff failed to keep damages to a minimum. If you are a fish supplier, and you failed to deliver fish for a week to Rats, Inc. because your delivery truck refrigeration system was not working.  Rats, Inc. would have a duty to mitigate damages by contacting another fish supplier.
  3. The contract was not in writing, but one is required under New York State Law.
  4. There is no valid contract.
  5. Statute of Limitations. Rats, Inc. cannot wait forever to start a lawsuit.  In New York State, in a breach of contract case a party has six years to start a lawsuit.

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