Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

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Material Breach
A violation of contract that is severe enough to undermine the entire agreement. A material breach usually releases the injured party from further obligation under the contract and may also give the injured party the right to sue for damages. For example, if a promoter signs a contract with a rock band and the band fails to show up for a concert as promised, the band has materially breached the contract and the promoter may sue for losses. (See also: breach of contract)