Economic Duress: A Poor Excuse for Non-Performance
In commercial litigation it is often the case that a party has failed to meet or comply with some contractual requirement, causing the party serious annoyance or inconvenience in the litigation. In order to avoid the breach of contract or promise and the consequences of such breach to the rights and remedies available in the litigation, the breaching party sometimes invokes economic duress as a defense to the claim of breach of contract or other contention based on non-performance. While economic duress can be pled in an effort to avoid the requirements of any contract, it is most often invoked in efforts to avoid the effects of releases, arbitration agreements, loan and loan modification agreements, and employment agreements. Over the course of the defense’s existence in Alabama, economic duress has been frequently invoked but only rarely found to be available as an excuse for non-performance. The cases analyzing invocations of economic duress point out why.
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