A breach of contract lawsuit is not always as easy as it seems. Despite the appearance of a “slam dunk” case, there are often times many defenses which are available to a defendant in a breach of contract action which can completely offset liability. Two such defenses are frustration of purpose and impossibility.
Frustration occurs if the happening of an event not foreseen by the parties and not caused by or under the control of either party has destroyed or nearly destroyed either the value of the performance or the object or purpose of the contract, then the parties are excused from further performance. Impossibility (as the name suggests) occurs when a party’s performance under the contract is rendered impossible by an act of God, the law, or the other party. If properly pleaded in an Answer and included as an affirmative defense, frustration of purpose and/or impossibility can have the legal effect of completely avoiding contract liability inasmuch as non-performance is legally excused/justified.
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