Contracts establish legal obligations and expectations between Massachusetts parties entering an agreement. However, there are instances when one party exhibits behavior that suggests that they may fail to fulfill their contractual duties even before the agreed-upon performance date arrives.
An anticipatory breach occurs when one party explicitly or implicitly communicates their intention not to fulfill their contractual obligations. This breach typically happens before the performance is due, leaving the other party in an uncertain and potentially vulnerable state.
Communicate and seek clarification
If you suspect an anticipatory breach, look for explicit statements or actions from the other party that indicate their intention not to fulfill their contractual obligations. Before jumping to conclusions or taking civil litigation measures, it’s helpful to open communications with the other party. Express your concerns about their actions or statements and seek clarification. It’s possible that there may be misunderstandings or valid reasons behind their behavior.
If an anticipatory breach becomes apparent, take steps to mitigate any potential damages to your business. Document the breach, gather evidence of any incurred losses and make reasonable efforts to minimize the impact on your operations.
Review the contract
Thoroughly review the contract to understand the remedies and dispute resolution mechanisms that it specifies. It may outline procedures for resolving breaches, such as mediation, arbitration or specific remedies for anticipatory breaches.
Evaluate your options
Once you confirm the anticipatory breach and explore potential resolution avenues, assess your options carefully. Depending on how severe the breach is as well as the contract’s terms, you may choose to terminate the contract, seek specific performance, claim damages or pursue other legal remedies.
Throughout the process, maintain detailed records of all communications, actions and efforts made to address the anticipatory breach. These records will be valuable in any legal proceedings.
Protect your rights
An anticipatory breach can pose significant risks to contractual agreements. When facing such a situation, it’s important to consider all available options, protect your rights and adhere to the contract’s provisions so that you can navigate an anticipatory breach by preserving the integrity of your business agreements.