Breach of contract — where a lawsuit is filed because one party believes another party has failed to deliver on the terms of a written or oral contract — is one of the most common legal business disputes.
If your business is ever involved in a breach of contract suit, your first step should be to contact an experienced contract attorney to help you determine your best defenses. Some of the ways you can defend yourself against a claim include:
Statute of limitations has expired – Every state has a statute of limitations that specifies the time period in which a breach of contract suit must be filed. If a suit is filed after the time period has expired, the claim is barred. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for a written contract is six years; it is three years for an oral contract.
Unconscionability — This occurs when one or more provisions of the contract are excessively unfair to one party.
Duress or fraud – If one party is under duress or fraud has been used to induce one party to sign a contract, it is considered to be inequitable and cannot be enforced.
Impossibility of performance – This happens when someone cannot meet the terms of a contract due to an unforeseeable event or act of nature.
Illegality — This occurs when the contract calls for the performance of something that is prohibited by law.
Mutual mistake – If both parties were mistaken about the contract terms when they entered into the contract, this can be a legitimate defense for breach of contract.
No consideration — If a contract lacks consideration — meaning that one party was not obligated to do (or not do) something — the contract is not enforceable.
There are additional defenses to a breach of contract claim, depending on the facts that gave rise to an alleged breach. A business attorney experienced in contract litigation can advise you of your best defense against your specific claim.
When you are facing any type of business dispute, you need an experienced Arizona trial attorney to obtain the best possible result. Contact Williams Mestaz, L.L.P., at (602) 256-9400 to speak with us about your case.