How to Defend Against a Breach of Contract Claim

Image of business partners handshaking over business objects on workplaceIf you find yourself on the defensive in a breach of contract claim, you need to raise as many defenses as possible. These defenses are called “affirmative defenses”, which means that it is up to you prove your defense. It isn’t really enough to just deny that you made the breach at all, which is why an affirmative defense follows the old adage that “the best defense is a good offense.” The best way to defend against a breach of contract claim is to prove that there was a flaw in the contract. There are a variety of “flaws” that may be the basis of your defense. Some examples of commonly used defenses in these cases are as follows:

  • The contract wasn’t in writing – If the contract in question was an oral contract, you may be able to prove its illegitimacy.
  • There was a mistake – If there was a mistake made by both you and the plaintiff, you can argue that the mistake makes the contract void.
  • You lack capacity to enter into the agreement – This defense is best for minors and people with mental disabilities. It means you weren’t able to comprehend exactly what you were doing.
  • The contract is unfair – The contract can be voided if it is heavily in favor of one party and unfair to the other.
  • The contract was illegal – If any aspect of the deal is illegal then the whole contract may be thrown out, along with the breach claim against you.
  • Estoppel – This defense argues that the plaintiff made a statement that contradicted the contract and you relied on that statement.

Garland & Mason, L.L.C. – New Jersey business lawyers


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