What is a Breach of Contract?
A breach of contract occurs when a party, who agreed to formulate a contractual obligation with another party, does not carry out the intended function of the contract. As a result, a breach of contract is a legal cause of action where the binding agreement latent in the contract, is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract.
A breach of contract can result in an individual not carrying-out a specific performance that was expected by the contract or by interfering with the other party’s ability to perform the task.
If a party, who agreed to formulate a contract with another party, does not fulfill his or her contractual promise or has given information to the other party that he or she will not perform his expected duty as labeled in the contract, the party is said to have performed a breach of contract. In addition, if the individual is unable to perform the obligations latent in the contract for whatever reason, a breach of contract is present.
Types of Breaches:
Minor Breach of Contract: A minor breach of contract constitutes a party’s inability to perform the full task expected by the contract; a minor breach of contract is referred to as an immaterial or partial breach of contract. In these instances, the non-breaching party cannot sue for specific performance, and can only seek legal action for actual damages sustained.
Material Breach of Contract: A material breach of contract is realized through any failure to perform, which ultimately permits the other party to the contract to collect damages because of the breach or compel performance.
Fundamental Breach of Contract: A fundamental breach of contract is a breach that permits the aggrieved party to terminate performance of the formulated contract. In these scenarios, the non-breaching party is entitled to sue the breaching party for damages sustained.
Anticipatory Breach of Contract: A breach of contract through anticipatory repudiation is an unequivocal indication that the party refuses to undertake the project or deliver performance as stipulated in the contract. Included in this type of breach, is a situation where a future non-performance is inevitable. This type of breach of contract allows the non-breaching party the option to treat the breach as immediate, which ultimately allows them to terminate the contract and sue for damages, without waiting for the actual breach to take place.
Remedies of a Breach of Contract:
In most instances, the judicial remedy for a breach of contract is the delivery of monetary compensation for damages incurred. If the failure to perform or satisfy the contractual obligation cannot be redressed through monetary compensation, the underlying court may enter an equity decree, which will award an injunction or the delivery of a specific performance.
The aggrieved person possesses the obligation to mitigate damages through reasonable means. In the United States, under contract law, punitive damages are typically not awarded for a breach of contract but may be awarded for other causes of action in a lawsuit.