A material breach of contract is a failure to fulfill a contract which is so severe that the contract itself is broken and nullified. Such a breach strikes at the core of the contract and the agreement between the two parties. In such a case, the offended party is usually able to end the agreement and try to collect damages from the other in court.
Courts will look at several factors to determine if a material breach of contract took place:
- The breach needs to deprive you of the "heart" of what you bargained for, such as being promised a certain and specific car and being given anything other than that particular vehicle.
- A breach of contract is unlikely to be considered material if the problem could be easily remedied by a simple fix or monetary payout.
- How much of the contractual obligation has been fulfilled and will the breaching party lose this investment in time or capital.
- The more likely it is that the breaching party will be able to fix the problem, the less chance the breach has of being considered material.
- A court is more likely to determine a material breach occurred if the breach was willful or resulted from bad faith.
- The non-breaching party needs to show it is ready, willing, and able to fulfill its own contractual obligations for the court to find a material breach.
- The contract may itself include language on what exactly constitutes a material breach of contract which the court can look to.
Call The Brennan Law Firm, LLC if you feel a breach of contract has occurred and we can advise you on how to proceed.