Man tearing contract papers

Affirmative Defenses to Breach of Contract

William B. Hanley, Attorney At Law Dec. 29, 2023

Contract breaches are a common issue. In the Golden State of California, such cases fall under the purview of state laws and can lead to serious legal consequences. It's paramount for individuals and businesses to grasp their rights and the options available to them when grappling with a breach of contract scenario. 

According to a recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, breach of contract cases constitute a significant portion of civil cases filed in the United States. In California, a state known for its robust business environment, approximately 20% of all civil cases filed in state courts are related to breach of contract. These figures underscore the importance of understanding the concept of breach of contract and the potential defenses available under California law. 

Understanding Breach of Contract 

At its core, a breach of contract refers to a situation where one party fails to perform their duties as detailed in an agreement. This could involve not providing goods or services, missing deadlines, or violating other terms agreed upon. If a breach transpires, the non-breaching party might seek legal remedies to enforce the contract or demand compensation for damages suffered due to the breach. 

Affirmative Defenses to Breach of Contract

When faced with a breach of contract claim, defendants can employ affirmative defenses. These are legal arguments that justify or explain the alleged breach and can potentially absolve the defendant from liability. California law recognizes several affirmative defenses in a breach of contract case: 

  • Impossibility of Performance: This defense posits that the breaching party couldn't fulfill their obligations due to circumstances beyond their control, rendering performance impossible. For instance, if a natural disaster disrupts a construction project, the contractor might raise this defense. 

  • Duress or Coercion: Here, the defense argues that the breaching party was pressured into the contract, making it voidable. If a party can prove they were under duress or undue influence during the contract's formation, they could be excused from performance. 

  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: This defense states that the contract was based on incorrect information or misrepresentations made by the other party. If a party can prove they were misled to enter the contract due to fraudulent statements or significant omissions, they might be released from their contractual obligations. 

  • Statute of Limitations: This defense claims that the breach of contract claim was filed after the applicable statute of limitations had expired. In California, the statute of limitations for written contracts is typically four years, while oral contracts have a two-year statute of limitations. 

How William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law Can Assist

When grappling with a breach of contract claim, it's crucial to seek the support of an experienced attorney who's well-versed in business litigation in California. The law office of William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law, nestled in Newport Beach, offers steadfast support and robust representation for individuals and businesses entangled in breach of contract disputes. 

William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law brings to the table extensive experience in dealing with diverse business litigation matters, including breach of contract cases. He navigates the complexities of California contract law seamlessly and provides strategic advice tailored to each client's unique objectives. With his tenacious and comprehensive approach to legal representation, he ensures his clients' best interests are fiercely guarded throughout the litigation process. 

From assessing the case's strength and gathering relevant evidence, to identifying potential witnesses and formulating a strategic plan, William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law guides his clients every step of the way. His dedication to individual attention and cost-effective litigation sets him apart from larger firms, guaranteeing that clients receive personalized assistance and a thorough understanding of their case's intricacies. 

When dealing with a breach of contract situation in California, understanding affirmative defenses and seeking the help of a skilled attorney is vital. By exploring affirmative defenses, defendants can potentially avoid liability or mitigate damages. With robust legal representation, individuals and businesses can navigate the intricacies of breach of contract disputes and work towards a favorable outcome.