Agreements are what make the business world go ‘round. It’s the interdependence of companies and individuals that fuels business progress and, ultimately, success. So important are these agreements that they become contracts — legally binding documents that hold both parties accountable for agreed-upon actions/tasks. In New Jersey and in every other state, when one party fails to live up to the promises outlined in a legal agreement, a “breach of contract” suit can be initiated.
Breach of contract can occur in the following ways: material breach, a serious violation of the contract terms such that fulfilling them are now made extremely difficult or impossible; minor breach, when one party fails to perform some aspect of the contract, but the breach is relatively insignificant and does not affect the overall purpose of the contract; and anticipatory breach, when one party indicates that he or she will not perform his or her contractual obligations.
Breach of contract: remedies and defenses
When a breach of contract case ends up before a court, the burden of proof falls upon the plaintiff to prove that the actions — or inactions — of the other party resulted in the contract being broken. If successful in proving a breach of contract, the plaintiff will seek to be made whole through monetary payments (remedies) or injunctions (a court order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts).
Conversely, the defendant must argue why the alleged breach is not really a breach of contract and should be excused. Common arguments used include:
- Fraud: the claim that the contract was not valid because key information was withheld or was falsified.
- Duress: contract was signed through physical or verbal threats.
- Undue influence: one party had a power advantage over the other in order to force a signature to the contract.
- Mistake: defendant must prove that both parties erred about the subject matter, and it might be enough to invalidate the contract.
- Statute of limitations: case can be thrown out of court if the defendant can show that the statute of limitations has expired. Generally, breach of contract in New Jersey must be filed within six years of the date the cause of action accrues.
Why legal representation matters in breach of contract cases
The many intricacies of breach of contract cases involve in-depth knowledge of New Jersey law. Experienced litigators, such as Jay R. McDaniel and the commercial litigation team at Weiner Law Group, will help you determine if you have a case. Should breach of contract be a valid dispute, we can help you make the case for it — or against it. Count on us to help protect your interests.
Weiner Law Group serves clients throughout New Jersey and the NYC metropolitan area. Contact us should you have any questions about business legal matters or if you would like a consultation on an impending breach of contract action.