A breach of contract occurs when one party is unable to perform their agreed upon duties in accordance to a legally binding contract. As Sarasota construction attorneys, we know that a contract can be breached by one or all parties, and that there may be legal consequences for the breaching party. A breach of contract can be either material or non-material depending on the nature of the breach, and in this article we will be discussing material breaches.
What Is A Material Breach of Contract?
A material breach of contract is when a party’s failure to perform is a major part of the contract. This means that the breach is substantial and prevents the contract from being finished and/or ruins the purpose of the contract. In the case of a material breach of contract, the non-breaching party, is no longer obligated to carry out their end of the agreement.
An Example of a Material Breach of Contract
Let’s say a homeowner contracts a utility contractor to install a 24-inch ductile iron pipe, and the utility contractor installs an 8-inch ductile pipe instead. An 8-inch water line will not carry the same amount of water as the 24-inch pipe, therefore making this a material breach of contract. With this example, the homeowner may be justified in ending the contract and recovering damages.
How to Determine if a Material Breach of Contract Occurred
To determine of a breach contract is material or not, you must look at whether:
- The non-breaching party can be reimbursed for the breach
- The non-breaching party is deprived of substantial benefit
- The breaching party’s behavior matches the standards of good faith
- The breaching party shows intent to fix their error to complete the agreement correctly
Are There Any Legal Consequences Of Material Contract Breaches?
In the case of a material breach of contract, the non-breaching party:
- May be excused from performing their duties in the contract and may even stop their duties as soon as a breach is suspected
- May sue the other party and recover any damages
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.