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Affirmative Defense Questions

What is affirmative defense?

Affirmative defense in simple terms refers to a justification, an excuse or defense. In such a defense the defendant agrees to the charge or claim or part of the claim made by the plaintiff but offers an explanation or justification and additional information that alleviates or annuls the plaintiff’s allegation. This implies affirmative defenses are a way to excuse or limit the defendant’s criminal culpability or civil liability. Some of the examples of affirmative defense in civil law are authority, consent, defense of property, estoppels, and so on. Examples of affirmative defense in criminal law are insanity defense, necessity, coercion, self-defense, statute of limitation, truth and so on.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the Lawyers on affirmative defense.

What could be an affirmative defense in the following situation: Defendant claims if the plaintiff or petitioner’s demand as per the complaint is granted, it would lead to “unjust enrichment”, as the plaintiff would receive more money than he/she is entitled to in the repayment of a debt.

In this kind of scenario you could claim affirmative defense as follows. The plaintiff did not repay or the amount he/she did pay was relatively inconsequential to repay a debt. He/she is not able to prove any specific payment for a particular debt and hence is engaging in frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits to obtain money. You need to visualize the ideal situation and formulate the ideal answers that could be given on the witness stand. You could assert this as your affirmative defense and gauge what the outcome would be.

I defaulted on a contract because of delayed payment though I had informed the seller proactively and he had confirmed to be supportive. I also had to file a complaint against him as he did not complete certain tasks as discussed based on the original plan. I am now being sued, what are the affirmative defenses I can use?

The affirmative defenses are as follows:

1. Unclean hands: Plaintiff is not entitled to recovery due to the principle of unclean hands as he failed to complete repair works as required and agreed upon in the original contract.

2. Equitable Estoppels: Plaintiff is not entitled to recovery because prior to signing the agreement he was aware the defendant required flexible payment options and had vouched to be understanding. Hence he should be stopped from strict adherence to the contract as in actuality he had agreed to more flexible terms.

3. Offset: The plaintiff should not be allowed recovery as the defendant can file a counter claim of breach of contract which could exceed the claims the plaintiff is suing for.

In a breach of contract case, I pleaded an affirmative defense. Am I ineligible to receive damages if the judgment is in my favor?

An affirmative defense is a basic defense. In most cases, recovery of damages is not possible solely based on an affirmative defense. You need to counterclaim in order to be eligible to receive damages. Counterclaim, as per procedure, would need to be made at the first pleading while filing your response. If this has not been done the right to counterclaim is most probably relinquished from your end. You could try to file a supplemental motion but it is highly unlikely that it would be granted. Affirmative defenses have specific requirements which should be stated precisely in the answer to the complaint.

Does affirmative defense have a negative influence as a defense, particularly if it concerns a violation of driving while suspended?

An affirmative defense is not a “bad” or a negative defense. It is a defense specifically recognized by law as the reason to find the accused innocent or not accountable for the damages or charges mentioned in the complaint. Usually an “answer” is required to be filed against a complaint and an affirmative defense with all its requirements needs to be stated at this point if that is the path the defendant chooses to take.

Affirmative defense is a chance to explain the truth as well as redeem oneself against a plaintiff’s claim. Self-defense is the perfect example of affirmative defense that throws light on what affirmative defense actually represents. Situations and consequences may be different in case of civil and criminal cases. To know the implications, consulting Experts and lawyers would be helpful.
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