You deal with agreements every day as a Florida business owner, so it stands to reason that you may eventually face a breach of contract situation. Many contract disputes can be resolved through communication and compromise, but some disagreements could be destined for the courtroom when the aggrieved party has sustained significant loss. Whether you must enforce or defend your contractual rights, the Florida statute of limitations is critical: A party has five years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit in court.
As such, pinpointing the act of breach is essential for determining the date and complying with the statute of limitations. It would seem easy to identify the details, but there are different types of breach that make the assessment complicated. A Clearwater contracts lawyer can assist with these challenges if you are the aggrieved party, but legal representation is also critical if you stand accused of breach. Some terminology will help you understand the types of breach and why the distinctions are important.
Breach of Contract Terminology
When entering into an agreement, parties take on certain responsibilities and are granted designated rights. If one does not follow the rules, this constitutes a breach under Florida contract laws. The aggrieved party can seek legal action by showing how the other did not comply with the terms of the agreement, as well as presenting proof of loss.
However, the underlying circumstances might lead a breach to fall into different categories:
Minor: In some cases, the breaching party might not comply with a single detail that does not affect the performance of the other contractual obligations. Both parties can still complete the contract and the aggrieved party suffers minimal loss.
Material: When a violation of contractual terms destroys the subject matter or objective of the agreement, it is likely to be considered a material breach. Determining whether a breach is minor or material comes down to each party’s essential duty, and how the breach thwarts the point of their arrangement.
Anticipatory: Many contracts involve a series of transactions or obligations, with a final due date for each party to complete performance. At times, a party knows in advance of the deadline that it will not be able to meet all contractual requirements. When that party informs the other, this creates a situation of anticipatory breach.
Why Type of Breach Matters
In short, the nature of the breach of contract is important because it dictates legal remedies. Many agreements and Florida statutes require the parties to participate in ADR if the breach is minor. For a material breach, the aggrieved party is discharged from performing its obligations. The aggrieved party can opt to sue right away for an anticipatory breach or wait to see if circumstances change.
A Clearwater, FL Business Law Attorney Can Provide Additional Details
For more information on the different types of breach of contract, please call Clearwater Business Law to speak to a member of our team. Business owners in Pinellas County and the surrounding area can call (727) 785-5100 to set up a consultation with a business litigation lawyer. We can advise you on contract disputes and related issues after reviewing your circumstances.