A simple example is an installment sales contract where one party delivers a product to the other party, and the party receiving the product agrees to pay for the product over time in a series of installments. The party that has delivered the product has performed his duties under the contract and if the defendant fails to make her payments, she is likely in breach of the contract.
A defendant accused of breach of contract can attack any of the elements of the claim, but they may also raise various other defenses to the claim. One important defense is asserting that the plaintiff has failed to mitigate his damages. When two parties have a contract together and one party breaches the contract, the plaintiff has a duty to take reasonable steps to limit additional damage. A familiar example of this duty when someone loses their job and must try to find a new job when suing for lost wages. It is important to note that when raising this defense, the burden is on the breaching party to show that the party bringing the breach of contract claim failed to use reasonable efforts to mitigate his damages.
Another common defense to a breach of contract claim is the failure of the party alleging the breach to perform their duties under the contract. This is simple on paper but hard to prove because often both parties breach the contract at different time, in different manners and for different reasons.
This is a very simplified and generalized discussion of breach of contract claims and there are a number of important exceptions, caveats and defenses that have not been included. If you want to explore how you may recover for someone else’s breach of contract or find yourself in danger of being sued for breach of contract, have already been sued for breach of contract please contact the Stoltmann Law Offices Commercial Litigation Group at 312-332-4200.