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Be informed.

What is the Difference Between a Material and Non-Material Breach?

If a contract you are a party to was breached, you should speak with a Plymouth Meeting contract disputes lawyer right away. The legal remedies available to you will vary based on whether the breach was a material breach or not. Your attorney will help you to access the materiality of the breach and will assist you in pursuing the legal remedy which is best for your situation. 

Curley & Rothman, LLC has extensive experience in all types of contract disputes, including breach of contract cases involving both a material and non-material breach. We can carefully review contract terms, information on contract performance, and other relevant issues aimed at classifying the breach of your contractual agreement.

Whether the breach was non-material or material, we can also assist in taking appropriate legal action to seek a remedy. To find out more, contact us today to speak with a Plymouth Meeting contract disputes lawyer.

Material vs. Non-Material Breach of Contract

The Judicial Education Center indicates that a “A breach is material if, as a result of the breaching party’s failure to perform some aspect of the contract, the other party receives something substantially different from what the contract specified.”

Essentially, this means a breach is considered to be a material one if it gets to the very essence or heart of the agreement. A material breach happens when one of the contracted parties fails to do the very thing that the contract was created for.

A non-material breach, on the other hand, occurs when the failure to perform was a minor one. The purpose of the contract is still in tact, the parties substantially performed according to the terms of their agreement, but something small went wrong.

If there was a contract for the construction of a new bedroom addition, for example, failure of the contractor to build a bedroom at all would constitute a material breach. If the contract called for the door to be facing left to enter the bedroom and the door was facing right, this would be an example of a non-material breach. The purpose of the contract was largely fulfilled when only the non-material breach occurred, but was not fulfilled at all when the material breach happened.

To determine if a breach was material or not, the court will consider many different factors including:

  • The extent and amount of benefit which the non-breaching party received.
  • The possibility of adequately compensating the non-breaching party for damages.
  • The extent to which the breaching party actually performed contractual obligations.
  • Hardship which affected the breaching party's ability to perform.
  • Whether the party who breached the agreement was willful or negligent.
  • The likelihood that the party who breached a part of the contract will perform the remainder of the contract.

Once the court has determine whether a breach was a material one or not, the next steps which must be taken involve determining the remedies for the breach of contract.

Remedies for a Breach of Contract

Remedies for a non-material breach are usually monetary. The non-breaching party is still expected to perform his part of the contract. However, the breaching party can be made to compensate the non-breaching party for any losses which were caused by the failure to carefully fulfill contract terms to the letter. In some cases, the breaching party could be ordered to correct the breach that occurred, so his performance matches contractual terms.

If a material breach happened, the non-breaching party could be absolved of responsibility to perform his/her or its part of the contract. The non-breaching party could also be awarded actual monetary damages which cover losses incurred as a result of the breach. Specific performance may be required as well, which would mean that the breaching party would be required to comply with the contract and perform under the terms of the original agreement. The right remedy will depend upon the specifics of the situation.

How a Plymouth Meeting Contract Disputes Lawyer Can Help

A Plymouth Meeting contract disputes lawyer provides comprehensive help to any party who is involved in a disagreement over contract terms. Whether you are accusing someone of breaching an agreement or defending yourself against accusations of wrongdoing, our legal team can help with both processes.

To find out more about how Curley & Rothman, LLC can help with all of your contract law issues that your company faces, give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our legal team.