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Kevin O'Flaherty

When one party fails to fulfill its obligations under a valid agreement, it is a serious legal issue referred to as a Breach of Contract. In Indiana, breach of contract cases are governed by statutory and common law principles. Understanding the rights, remedies, and damages available in breach of contract cases is crucial for plaintiffs and defendants. This article will provide an in-depth overview of breach of contract in Indiana, exploring the rights of parties involved, the available remedies, and the types of damages that can be sought.

Rights of the Parties

When a breach of contract occurs in Indiana, both the party that breached the contract (the breaching party) and the non-breaching party have certain rights. The non-breaching party has the right to enforce the contract and seek remedies for the breach, while the breaching party may have rights of defense or counterclaims.

Enforcing the Contract

The non-breaching party can enforce the contract terms and seek specific performance or damages. Specific performance is a remedy where the court orders the breaching party to fulfill their contractual obligations. Damages are a monetary award intended to compensate the non-breaching party for losses suffered due to the breach.

Defense and Counterclaims

The breaching party has the right to raise defenses to a breach of contract claim, such as the impossibility of performance, frustration of purpose, or mistake. Additionally, the breaching party may assert counterclaims against the non-breaching party if they believe they have been harmed somehow.

Remedies for Breach of Contract

In Indiana, several remedies are available to the non-breaching party when a contract is breached. These remedies aim to restore the injured party to the position they would have been in had the breach not occurred. The following are common remedies in breach of contract cases:


Damages are the most common remedy sought in breach of contract cases. In Indiana, there are different types of damages available, including compensatory damages, consequential damages, nominal damages, and liquidated damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the non-breaching party for the actual losses they suffered due to the breach. These damages aim to place the injured party in the position they would have been in if the contract had been fully performed.

Consequential Damages

Consequential damages are those that result from the breach but are not directly caused by it. These damages may include lost profits, additional expenses, or other foreseeable losses that flow from the breach.

Nominal Damages

Nominal damages are symbolic or token damages awarded when the non-breaching party did not suffer actual financial loss but can still prove a breach of contract.

Liquidated Damages

Liquidated damages are predetermined amounts agreed upon by the parties in the contract. They are specified in the contract as the number of damages to be paid if a breach occurs. To be enforceable, liquidated damages must be a reasonable estimate of the anticipated damages at the time of contract formation.

person signing contract

Specific Performance

Specific performance is an equitable remedy where the court orders the breaching party to fulfill their contractual obligations. This remedy is typically sought when monetary damages are inadequate or impractical.

Rescission and Restitution

Rescission involves canceling the contract and returning both parties to their pre-contract positions. Restitution refers to the return of any consideration given by the non-breaching party.

Limitations and Defenses

The breaching party may raise certain limitations and defenses in a breach of contract case in Indiana. It's essential to be aware of these limitations and defenses, as they can impact the case outcome.

Statute of Limitations

Indiana has a statute of limitations that sets a time limit within which a breach of contract claim must be filed. The specific time limit depends on the type of contract involved. It is crucial for the non-breaching party to initiate legal action within the prescribed time period to preserve their rights.

Mitigation of Damages

The non-breaching party has a duty to mitigate, or minimize, their damages resulting from the breach. They must make reasonable efforts to reduce their losses. Failure to mitigate damages can limit the amount of compensation awarded.

Unclean Hands

If the non-breaching party engaged in misconduct or unethical behavior that contributed to the breach, the breaching party may raise the defense of "unclean hands." This defense argues that the non-breaching party should be denied the remedies they seek due to their own wrongful conduct.

Impossibility, Impracticability, or Frustration of Purpose

The breaching party may assert defenses based on impossibility, impracticability, or frustration of purpose. These defenses claim that circumstances beyond their control made it impossible or impractical to fulfill the contract's terms or that the purpose of the contract has been frustrated due to unforeseen events.

Breach of contract cases in Indiana involves complex legal considerations regarding the rights, remedies, and damages available to the parties involved. Understanding these aspects is essential for both plaintiffs seeking redress and defendants defending against breach of contract claims. By being aware of their rights, parties can pursue appropriate remedies and assert valid defenses. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in Indiana contract law is advisable to navigate the complexities of breach of contract cases effectively and achieve the best possible outcome.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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