A breach of contract occurs when one party breaches a contractual agreement, either on purpose or accidentally. Breaches of contract can prove costly for those aggrieved and amount to considerable liability for those who violated the agreement. From business agreements to landlord-tenant disputes, contracts exist in every facet of life–and so does the breaking of contracts. While similarities in the law exist across different states, understanding breach of contract under New Jersey law has unique considerations. Consider contacting the legal team at The Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq. at (732) 360-6409 for a consultation regarding your possible breach of contract case.


When a Contract is Breached Under NJ Law


There are unfortunate circumstances in which contracts are broken. Some causes of breach of contract include miscommunication, disagreements, or misunderstandings of responsibilities and obligations. The law considers a breach of contract a civil matter, and some of the most common areas where contracts are breached include:


NJ Business Contracts


When it comes to business, there are a myriad of areas where contractual agreements start to unravel. For example, an account may fail to pay on time or a merchant may fail to complete an order or provide goods significantly different from what the contract outlined. Any area where business parties connect, or partnerships occur, can be the foundation upon which a breach of contract under NJ law could potentially occur.

NJ Employment Contracts


Employment law is another area where breach of contract could possibly occur, especially for short-term employees. For example, a worker does not finish the job, or an employer does not honor the agreed-upon time frame for a job. In other instances, there are miscommunications or misunderstandings regarding the terms and conditions of the employment contract between parties.


NJ Housing Contracts


Renters and landlords often experience breaches of contracts. Even seemingly mundane situations, such as failure to pay rent or a landlord’s neglect at making repairs, fall under violation of contract law.


Types of Contract Breaches


Not all contracts have the same type of contract breach under NJ law. Some violations are minor, and some are more significant. The law distinguishes between “minor” breaches and infringements that violate the heart of the agreement.

Minor Breaches


New Jersey law does not consider minor breaches substantial violations of contract terms. Minor infringements, also known as “partial” or “immaterial” breaches of contract, generally do not warrant legal intervention. An example of a minor violation might be an employee’s slightly substandard performance or quality of work. Minor breaches tend to be not just partial but also more subjective in nature. Visitin with an attorney from The Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq. can help you determine if your contract breach is considered a minor one under the law.


Material Breaches


Material breaches are substantial violations of an agreement to the point of compromising the heart of the contract. According to New Jersey law, “a material breach defeats the purpose of the contract and is inconsistent with the intention of the parties to be bound by the contract terms.”


It is important to note that whether a breach was material or by accident does not affect that a breach occurred.


A material breach means that one party no longer has to abide by the contract terms. For example, a landlord does not have to continue to provide housing for a tenant who has not paid rent – the landlord has the right to evict the tenant. Likewise, when a merchant delivers the wrong item to a customer, they have the right to demand their money back. In either case, a material breach may have effectively ended the relationship.


Breaches of contract can be legally complicated, and it is critical to have legal guidance that considers New Jersey law. If you are in the state of New Jersey and have experienced a breach of contract, whether from a business arrangement or some other circumstance, contact the business lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq. to understand your rights.


Proving a Breach Has Occurred


While the above examples may seem straightforward, it is not always clear when the terms of an agreement have been violated. Generally speaking, a plaintiff must prove four critical points for a valid breach of contract.

The Existence of a Contract


First and foremost, a defendant must prove that a contract existed. Not always so easy, primarily if the agreement was not written down. Employment law can involve breaches of contracts due to the oral agreements made through the proverbial “handshake.” As common as these situations are, the lack of a written agreement may make its breach challenging to prove.


Violation of the Terms of Contract


A plaintiff must prove that the other party violated the contract’s terms. Again, this is not always straightforward if the terms came with some gray area, were written vaguely, or were otherwise non-existent.


The Plaintiff Followed Terms


For a breach to occur, the accusing party must be acting in good faith of the contract.

The plaintiff cannot violate the terms of the agreement and expect to accuse another of breaching the contract successfully.


Monetary Loss


Breaches of contracts can be costly for businesses and individuals alike. Chronically late wholesale shipments can translate to unsatisfied customers for a retailer, leading to lost revenue. By definition, a breach of contract leads to financial damages. A plaintiff’s ability to prove economic loss is a critical piece of their breach of contract case.


The Defendant’s Argument


Someone accused of breach of contract does have recourse. However, there are times when accusations of breach of contract are not legally sound. For example, as audacious as it may sound, one party may be using a violation of contract filing to willfully defraud or place “undue influence” on the other party, taking advantage of their mental capacity or lack of experience. Other times, both parties may be mistaken about the actual terms of the agreement. In all cases of a breach of contract, there must be a legally sound basis for any kind of restitution or legal resolution.


Contact the Experienced Business Attorneys at The Law Office of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq. Today


In the state of New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a breach of contract case is six years. While that may sound like a lot of time, it can take months or years for an agreement violation to appear. Therefore, it is critical to attempt to make determinations regarding a breach of contract under New Jersey law as soon as possible. Consider contacting the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq. at (732) 360-6409 to schedule your consultation today.