What Is A Material Breach Of Contract?

What is a material breach of contract and how does it affect the parties involved?

A material breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform the primary purpose of the contract. The contract becomes irreparably breached or pointless.

When one party is faced with a material breach of contract they can end the contract and pursue legal action against the party that failed to perform their end of the agreement. Some contracts will state what are considered material breaches.

What is an example of a material breach of contract?

If a man orders all new high-end safe copper wiring installed in their home and the electrician installs low-end cheap aluminum wiring (that's more likely to catch on fire) to save money, then the man may sue for material breach of contract because installing aluminum instead of copper breaches the purpose of the contract, the safety aspect. 

When is something not a material breach?

If the party can be easily compensated for the breach in the contract then it's most likely not a material breach. For example, if a person remodeled their bathroom and the contractor promised a certain type of faucet and then later gave the owner a different brand than what was promised, this dispute can be remedied by replacing the faucet or by compensating the owner for the wrong product. If the dispute can be easily fixed it's not likely that it's a material breach of contract.

What could cause the non-breaching party to lose their material breach of contract lawsuit?

If the non-breaching party cannot prove that they performed their end of the contract then they will not be able to win their lawsuit. The non-breaching party must prove that they intended and were able to fulfill their contractual obligations.

For more information, consult with a civil litigation attorney near you.


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