Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Common defenses to contract enforceability

Contract disputes are commonplace in the business world. Businesses and individuals often fail to meet expectations laid out in these legal agreements, and other parties to the contract can be financially harmed as a result.

This leads to breach of contract claims being filed, which can cause damage to a business's financial health and its reputation. Therefore, those who find themselves facing a potential contract dispute should carefully consider how best to approach it.

Perhaps the first thing to consider is whether the contract is legally enforceable. Without an enforceable agreement, a party claiming to have been wronged has no legal recourse for breach of contract. There are a number of defenses to a claim that an agreement constitutes an enforceable contract, including lack of capacity to contract. Here, if a party to an agreement is a minor or suffers mental impairment, then a court may determine that the individual could not fully understand what he or she was doing by entering into the agreement. Intoxication is rarely deemed to constitute incapacity.

Another defense to a claim of enforceability is undue influence, duress, or misrepresentation. Duress arises when a threat is made in order to obtain agreement. Undue influence involves unfair persuasion, usually by an individual who holds some sort of power of the individual who is being coerced. Misrepresentation, of course, means that the contract was agreed to based on false or misleading information.

These are just a few of the many defenses to contract enforceability. Regardless of which side of a contract dispute one finds him or herself on, it is important to know how to approach this very basic, yet often highly contentious, legal issue. This is where a skilled attorney who is experienced in business law may be able to help.

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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