What is a Material Breach Of Contract in Missouri?

Dec 27 2023      On Behalf of  David M. Duree & Associates, P.C.      Business And Commercial Litigation

Under Missouri contract law, a breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform their responsibility as stated in the contract or does not complete their duty per the terms of the contract. When one party breaches a contract, the non-breaching party may be compensated for resulting losses. A breach of contract can be minor, meaning the breach does not significantly impact the contract’s terms, or material, which has much more significant consequences for both parties.

You can take legal action to remedy a material breach of contract, and an experienced Missouri contract lawyer can advise you on your best options.

What Does Material Breach of Contract Mean?

A material breach of contract occurs when one party seriously violates the terms of the contract, making fulfillment of the contract extremely challenging if not impossible. A material breach may be so substantial that it renders the contract invalid because neither party can perform their duties under the contract.

On the other hand, a minor breach of contract typically will not substantially impact the terms of the contract. When a minor breach occurs, both parties may still be able to fulfill their contractual duties.

What are My Legal Options With a Material Breach of Contract?

When a material breach of contract occurs, the non-breaching party may be unable to perform their contractual duties or may be excused from performing them. The non-breaching party may sue the breaching party to compel them to perform or seek compensation for losses they incurred due to the breach.

A non-breaching party may also cancel a contract (also called rescission), thereby treating it as though it never existed. Rescission should ultimately restore the signing parties to the positions they would have been in had the contract never been formed. Thus, the breaching party may be required to compensate the non-breaching party for any losses arising from the breach.

How Do I Know If I Have a Material Breach of Contact?

There are several factors that are relevant to determining whether there was a material breach of contract:

  • Whether the non-breaching party was deprived of what they bargained for
  • Whether the issue can be fixed without canceling the contract
  • How far along both parties are in fulfilling their contractual obligations
  • Whether the breaching party can and will fix the issue
  • Whether the breaching party acted in bad faith
  • Whether the non-breaching party has already performed its contractual obligations or is prepared to perform them
  • Whether the breached contract contains a clause regarding how to handle a material breach

Do You Need Help Rectifying a Material Breach of Contract?

If another party to your contract has materially breached it, you do have legal options. Contact the Missouri contract lawyers at David M. Duree & Associates, P.C., to learn more about what you can do to demand compensation for your losses after a material breach of contract in Missouri.

One of our skilled St. Louis contract law attorneys can review your case during a free, confidential consultation.