Five Affirmative Defenses to a Breach of Contract Claim in Florida
Is your company facing a lawsuit for a breach of contract in Florida? You have the right to raise a defense. Of course, one of the most straightforward defenses is that no breach ever occurred. There are other defenses that can be raised as well—including affirmative defenses that acknowledge that the contract was not fulfilled, but nonetheless argue that there is no liability. Here, our Miami business litigation attorney highlights five affirmative defenses to breach of contract claims.
What is an Affirmative Defense?
The Legal Information Institute defines an affirmative defense as one “in which the defendant introduces evidence, which, if found to be credible, will negate liability.” In other words, rather than disputing the facts of the breach itself, the defendant claims that even if the breach occurred, there are legal grounds excusing or justifying their actions. There are a number of different affirmative defenses that could be raised by a defendant in a breach of contract case in Florida. An affirmative defense in a civil breach of contract claim should be raised with help from a lawyer.
Affirmative Defenses to a Breach of Contract Claim in Florida
- Fraudulent Inducement
A fraudulent inducement defense asserts that the defendant was deceived into entering the contract on false grounds. Among other things. the defendant must prove that the misrepresentations were material and that they justifiably relied on them when entering the contract.
- Mutual Mistake
A mutual mistake occurs when both parties to a contract have the same misbelief regarding a vital fact essential to the agreement. If it is proven that there was a mutual mistake at the time the contract was formed, the agreement might be voided outright.
- Commercial Impracticability
A commercial impracticability defense is employed when unexpected events render performance of the contract extremely burdensome or costly. To be successfully raised, the events in question can not have been foreseeable at the time of contract formation.
- Statute of Limitations
In Florida, breach of contract claims must be brought within a specific timeframe. If the plaintiff waits too long to file their claim, the defendant can raise the statute of limitations as a defense. For most written contracts in Florida, there is a five year statute of limitations.
- Promissory Estoppel
A promissory estoppel defense comes into play when one party has reasonably and detrimentally relied on the promise of the other, even if a formal contract was not established. The defense of promissory estoppel prevents a party from going back on their promise if the other party has acted upon it to their detriment. Promissory estoppel cases can be especially complex.
Contact Our Miami, FL Business Litigation Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business litigation attorney provides solutions-driven legal representation to clients facing breach of contract claims. If you have any questions about defenses to a breach of contract dispute, we are here to help. Contact us today for your fully confidential consultation. We provide breach of contract defense representation throughout South Florida.