There are few legal documents as important as a contract. These binding agreements underpin nearly every part of most industries. From real estate transactions to business financing, the importance of a comprehensive contract cannot be overstated. In fact, writing a meticulously detailed contract is as much an art as it is a measure of your legal professional’s experience. This makes a Florida breach of contract all the more serious.
There are countless reasons a business may breach a contract. We’ll explore some of the more common reasons below, as well as looking at different types of breaches, Florida breach of contract elements, and the statute of limitations on breach of contract lawsuits.
Different Types of Contract Breaches
There are four different types of contract breaches. These are:
– Minor Breach (sometimes called a partial breach)
– Fundamental Breach (sometimes called an actual or repudiatory breach)
– Material Breach
– Anticipatory Breach
A minor breach of contract occurs if there is a small deviation from the contract. Despite the “minor” qualifier, a minor Florida breach of contract is still grounds for litigation.
A fundamental breach occurs when there is a “standard” breach from the terms of the contract. If you have a contract for the delivery of goods on Friday, but you do not receive the delivery until the following Monday, then a fundamental breach has occurred.
A material breach occurs when the nature of the breach is so substantial it can absolve the non-breaching party of their duty under the contract. Put another way, a material breach calls into question the existence of the contract, to begin with. If you have a contract for the delivery of apples on Friday, but you do not receive the delivery until the following Monday, and it contains bananas rather than apples, then a material breach has occurred.
An anticipatory breach occurs when one party states that they will not uphold their end of the contract. If you have a contract for the delivery of goods on Friday, but you receive a phone call from the supplier on Thursday stating they will not be able to make their delivery, then an anticipatory breach has occurred.
Breach of Contract Elements in Florida
There are three elements to a breach of contract action in Florida. These are:
– That a contract existed
– That at least one party materially breached the contract
– That as a result of the breach, the other party suffered damages
It’s important to pay attention to the second element – that the breach was material in nature and not, for example, minor or fundamental. While plaintiffs in the rest of the country may only need to prove that a breach occurred, plaintiffs in Florida will need to prove that a material breach occurred.
There are five Florida breach of contract elements that must be proven for the plaintiff to receive damages from the defendant. These are:
– That a contract existed
– That the plaintiff fulfilled their end of the contract
– That the necessary conditions existed for the defendant to uphold their end of the contract
– That the defendant failed to uphold their end
– That the defendant’s failure harmed the plaintiff
If your attorney can prove these elements occurred, then you can expect a successful outcome to your breach of contract lawsuit in Florida.
Statute of Limitations for Breaches of Contract
The Florida statute of limitations for a breach of contract varies depending on the type of contract that was breached. According to Florida Statute § 95.11, the statute of limitations for most contracts is five years. That means you have five years from when the breach occurred to pursue litigation. Contracts involving real property (real estate) have a four-year statute of limitations.
If you have been the victim of a breach of contract in Florida, you should contact an experienced contract attorney as soon as possible. Not only will this help ensure you’re able to file suit within the statute of limitations, but your attorney will be able to answer any questions you have and make sure you pursue the best course of action.
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