Business Disputes: It’s What We Do
  1. Home
  2.  — 
  3. Business Disputes
  4.  — Recognizing key contract violations
Photo of attorneys E. Kelly Conway, Michael E. Gehring and Stephen G. Harvey

Recognizing key contract violations

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Business Disputes

A contract is a legally binding agreement outlining rights and obligations between parties.

When one party fails to meet its contractual duties, it results in a breach of contract.

Material breach

A material breach occurs when someone fails to fulfill an important aspect of the contract, substantially impacting the entire agreement. This breach is severe, as it goes to the heart of the contractual obligations. For example, if a seller fails to deliver goods as specified in a purchase agreement, it is a material breach.

Minor breach

In contrast, a minor breach involves failing to fulfill the contract’s non-material aspects. While still a violation, it does not undermine the core purpose of the agreement. An example could be a slight delay in delivery that does not significantly impact the overall transaction.

Anticipatory breach

An anticipatory breach is when one party intends not to fulfill their contractual obligations before the agreed-upon time. This gives the other party the right to terminate the contract immediately, even before a breach occurs. For instance, if a supplier indicates an inability to deliver goods as promised in the future, it is an anticipatory breach.

Actual breach

An actual breach is the most straightforward form, occurring when someone fails to perform a specific obligation outlined in the contract. This could include failing to pay, deliver goods or provide services as agreed upon. Identifying and addressing actual breaches promptly is important to resolving the dispute and minimizing potential damages.

Fundamental breach

A fundamental breach occurs when one party’s actions undermine the contract’s foundation, making it impossible for the other party to receive the agreed-upon benefits. This breach often gives the non-breaching party the right to terminate the contract and seek legal remedies.

Understanding the nuances of breach of contract is important for individuals and businesses. Recognizing these violations is necessary for effectively navigating contractual disputes.