Another Breach of Contract Dispute with Donald Trump

In recent Orlando breach of contract lawyer news, Donald Trump has settled a breach of contract dispute with Spanish language network Univision, which used to carry the Trump owned Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.  The terms of the settlement are confidential.  Univision’s lawyers filed suit against Trump for breach of contract after his now infamous campaign comments about Mexico sending its drug addicts, criminals and rapists to the United States.  Univision stated that Trump’s comments “offended millions” and based on these Trump statements, stopped carrying the Trump backed pageants.  Univision’s theory is that Trump’s statements about Latinos, which are the primary customers of Univision, were so offensive and “cataclysmic” that they voided the parties’ contract.  Trump’s lawyers then filed a counter-claim for breach of contract and defamation, seeking recovery of $500 million in breach of contract damages. Trump’s counter-claim alleged that Univision lacked any legal basis to breach the parties’ contract and stop showing the pageants on Univision.

Orlando Breach of Contract Lawyer Analysis

Legally speaking, Univision’s lawyer was attempting to argue the defense of frustration of purpose.  Frustration of purpose allows a party to a contract to terminate it due to unforeseen circumstances that occurred and frustrated the purpose of the contract.    Frustration of purpose is distinct from the defense of impossibility, which allows a party to a contract to terminate it when performance becomes impossible.  For example, a family rents a home next to the 18th green of the Masters for the weekend on which the tournament takes place because they are all huge golf fans.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Masters tournament is cancelled shortly before the family is to fly to Georgia, so the family terminates the contract.  The family could not argue impossibility, because it was still possible for them to fly to Georgia and stay for the weekend.  The family could argue frustration of purpose, because the purpose of the contract was to obtain a home for a family of golf fans to watch the Masters tournament.  When that could not happen, the purpose of the contract was frustrated, entitling them to terminate.

Following Univision’s argument, the purpose of the contract was to allow Univision to broadcast the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants to its Latino customers, and earn the prestige and profits that go along with such a role.  But because Trump’s comments were so insulting to Univision’s core Latino audience, they would avoid watching the broadcasts because they were associated with Trump and his anti-Latino rhetoric, causing a public relations black eye and losses to Univision, resulting in frustration of the purpose for which it entered the contract.

Trump’s lawyers countered that foreseeability of the potential issue rebuts any defense of frustration of purpose.  As they did in the other Trump breach of contract action, his attorneys argued that Trump’s anti-immigrant views were well known, and that he is colorful and outspoken person on immigration and other issues.  Moreover, the parties’ contract did not contain a “morals clause” that bound the parties to any certain standard of behavior.   It would have been interesting to see how this Orlando breach of contract dispute played out, but for now, Trump and Univision have buried the hatchet.

 

 

 

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