A breach of contract can be an expensive legal problem. If you've been accused of a breach and face a lawsuit, forming the best defense possible is the only way to minimize financial loss. The good news is that even if you did commit the breach, there are several good defenses you may deploy. Some of the most common involve the requirements for a contract to be valid. Here are five key things that could make yours invalid.
1. The Terms Aren't Clear
Contracts must be clear in order to be enforceable. Both parties must be able to clearly identify what they are getting and giving up, what they must complete, how long they have to do so, and so forth. If any important terms are unclear or missing, the contract may not be valid.
2. No Mutual Understanding Existed
A basic requirement for a contract is that both parties agree on fundamental premises. This is known as a meeting of the minds. If you believed that you were getting new products but the other party believed they were delivering used products, there was no mutual understanding.
3. Fulfillment Was Impossible
Was there no feasible way to complete the contract? Did your business burn down or you suffered a catastrophic medical crisis that left you unable to fulfill the agreement? It may surprise some to know that the letter of the law can at times be mitigated by reasonableness. If you can convince a jury that there was no way to do what you'd agreed to do, you may not be held liable.
4. The Contract Wasn't Written
This defense may or may not be something you can use. An oral or implied contract can be considered valid in many situations, such as employment contracts or 'gentlemen's agreements'. However, some contracts must be in writing per state law. Check your state law for details on how this may apply in your situation.
5. You Were Deceived
Did the other party take advantage of you in some way? Did they promise things that were untrue? Did they tell you that their products were much more advanced than they really are? Did they claim that they were the only supplier of these products? What about grandiose promises that you then relied on? Deception is a solid defense for many types of contract breaches, depending on how material the deceptive practices were.
Where to Learn More
Could any of these defenses help you fend off a lawsuit or damages resulting from a broken contract? Find out by meeting with a civil litigation lawyer in your state today.