Breach of Contract Equitable Defenses

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What are Equitable Remedies for Breaches of Contract?

Equitable remedies are issued when legal remedies such as monetary damages cannot properly resolve the breach. Instead of providing monetary compensation, equitable relief usually involves the parties taking certain actions which will serve to remedy the breach. 
 
The most commonly employed equitable remedies for a breach of contract are:
 
A court has much discretion when issuing equitable remedies, and they will use a variety of factors to determine whether equitable relief is appropriate.

Are there any Defenses to Equitable Remedies?

Yes- equitable relief is not available if the party in violation has a valid defense to the breach of contract. These are known as “equitable defenses” and prevent a non-breaching party from obtaining equitable relief. Equitable defenses can include:
 
Thus, equitable defenses can sometimes prevent a party from obtaining equitable relief. The most common equitable defenses are laches and unclean hands. Thus, a party who wishes to obtain an equitable remedy must make sure that they themselves have not committed any violations of law.
 
Finally, you should understand that the area of equitable defenses is very complex and sometimes requires the expertise of a lawyer to determine when a defense is available. For example, the defenses to specific performance may be different from the defenses for contract rescission. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for issues with Equitable Defenses?

If you are involved in a breach of contract dispute, you should contact a contracts lawyer immediately. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the different remedies available in a contract setting, including both legal and equitable remedies. Also, an experienced contract attorney can explain to you how equitable defenses work and whether they apply to your situation. 

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Last Modified: 09-26-2012 03:30 PM PDT

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