A Business-First Approach To The Practice Of Law

What is a “material” and “minor” breach of contract?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Firm News |

Past posts on this blog refer to the potential of a business client breaching its contract with you (and what legal remedies you might pursue should such an event occur). Yet while you might believe you understand exactly what qualifies as a contract breach, it may surprise you to learn that such an action is often difficult to define.

For instance, were you aware that there are actually different forms of contract breaches? Understanding which the actions of your contracted partner fall under should direct your actions in pursuing legal relief against it.

A material breach of contract

According to information shared by the Judicial Education Center, cases of breach of contract typically fall into one of two categories: material or minor. A material breach of contract occurs when the contract consideration (whatever benefit you should derive from the contract) you receive is substantially different from that which the contract promises. An example might be you expecting the receive a specific type of building material, and instead of receiving something altogether different (thus materially hindering you and your company’s ability to do your work). In the case of a material breach of contract, you may pursue damages for breach of the entire contract.

Cases where your contracted partner fails to deliver on any of its promises fall under a material breach.

When a breach of contract is minor

Conversely, a contract breach is minor when you derive some of the benefits promised, but not all of it (or a compromised portion of it). This occurs when services or goods you expect at a certain time experience delay, or you receive a shipment of damaged goods (a portion of which still function). In such a case, you may only seek damages relative to the breach (such as the cost of damaged items or late resulting from delays).

Founding Partners Damaso W. Saavedra and Allyson D. Goodwin