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  1. In the context of civil procedure, a general issue of material fact references an actual, plausible issue of fact that must be decided by a jury or judge. Because the issue is relevant and consequential, an issue of material fact precludes summary judgment.
  2. In the context of trial and the Federal Rules of Evidence, material is often synonomous with evidence.
  3. In the context of contract law, material is a description frequently attributed to an important contractual provision or stipulation that would alter the contract performance.
    1. For example, a material breach of contract describes a court finding similar to that of lack of substantial performance of the contract. In the example of a lack of substantial performance, this material breach would lead to a damages possibly in the form of reliance damages in favor of the non-breaching party.
    2. A material breach, and factors for determining one, is also defined in the Restatement Second of Contracts § 241:
      1. Depriving a benefit from the injured party which was reasonably expected.
      2. The extent to which the injured party can be adequately compensated for the benefit not receive.
      3. The extent to which the party failing to perform will suffer forfeiture.
      4. The likelihood that the party failing to perform will fix his or her failure.
      5. The extent to which the failing party is acting in standards of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]