Impracticability Defense Lawyers
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What Is the Defense of Impracticability in Contract Law?
Circumstances often change between the time a contract is signed and when performance of the contract occurs. Regardless of the changes, the contract still needs to be performed. However, if the contract has become impractical to perform, then not performing the contract is excused. A contract is impractical to perform if something extreme or outrageous occurs that makes performance of the contract unreasonable.
Is an Impracticability Defense Likely to Work in Court?
“Impractical to perform the contract” is often raised as a defense in breach of contract cases but hardly ever granted. Simply because the contract has become too difficult or too expensive to perform is not enough. It must be exceptionally unreasonable to require one of the parties to continue to perform the contract for it to be “impracticable”.
What Are Some Examples of When the Impracticability Defense Is Used?
Here are a few instances where an impracticability defense might work:
- Necessary for performance – If a person or thing necessary for the performance of the contract is not available, then an impracticability defense can succeed. For example, a band agrees to perform if proper lighting is provided. A power outage prevents the lights from working. The band has a good impracticability defense to not perform the concert.
- Unknown costs – Hidden and unforeseeable costs often build up after a contract is made. For example, a company contracts to remove all gravel. It turns out that there is gravel underwater, which would cost 30 times the amount the company was to be paid to remove it. The company would have an impracticability defense since the cost to remove all the gravel would be outrageously high.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
More often then not, a court will reject an impracticability defense. However, you should speak with an experienced contract attorney if you think you have a valid impracticality defense. An attorney can tell you the chance of success and also provide alternative defenses.
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Last Modified: 08-07-2012 02:58 PM PDT
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