In this instance, the affirmative defense I would use to the breach of contract claim is the fact that the claim is barred by the statute of limitations. According to the relevant law that is applicable to this case, an action for breach of contract must be brought within one year of the breach. In this instance, Dano both breached the contract and the company became aware of the breach on the first day of June. The action for breach of contract was not filed until June 3rd of the following year.
This means that the claim itself is barred by the statute of limitations, and it does not matter whether Dano breached the contract or any other condition under the contract. The statute of limitations running out on a claim is an affirmative defense that bars the ability of the party to seek recourse in the first place, so the claim itself would not be able to go forward at all. The claim should be dismissed with prejudice because the statute of limitations has run out on the company. Dano should be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees for the trouble in this case. Because the company and its attorneys should have known better, they should be required to pay the legal fees of Dano so that he is not out of pocket on this claim.
There are some causes of action and parties that could be at play here if Dano wants to pursue his claim on his end. First, there may be sanctions that could be sought and brought against the legal counsel of the plaintiff. Seeking sanctions is appropriate in those cases where the other side willfully and knowingly brings a claim that they know they cannot win. In this case, Dano could argue that the other side just brought this claim to pressure and harass him, and that they knew the claim would be barred by the statute of limitations in that jurisdiction. Seeking sanctions against the opposing lawyer is an excellent way to ensure that things like this do not happen in the future, as the lawyer will be much more careful with how he conducts himself after this takes place.
In addition, Dano may have a claim against the salesperson and against the company itself for misrepresentation. In this case, the company and the salesperson both have a duty to disclose things about the product that make it unsafe or otherwise unfit. They knew that everyone returns the mattress and that it is unfit for production and sale. By failing to disclose this fact, they were essentially committing a form of fraud. In this case, the sales person is not likely to have the resources to pay for a judgment.
However, the company itself can be held responsible for the activity of the salesperson under the legal theory of respondeat superior. In addition to that, it may be possible to bring an action against the company itself for negligence because of its hiring practices. Likewise, there is an action to be brought against the company because it pressured the salesperson into these sales tactics and misrepresentations by providing a bonus to the salesperson to selling a product that is clearly defective.
In light of the defective nature of the product, an action could also be brought against the manufacturer of the mattress. There are clearly damages because of the pain the mattress causes and the fact that it has caused him to not do as well at his job. The manufacturer is responsible for that because it designed a mattress that had a clear flaw and could not be trusted to work without hurting people sleeping on it.