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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in Colorado

A contract in Colorado constitutes an agreement between two or more parties. The parties are bound together by the contract to fulfill their end of a bargain. A contract dispute occurs when these parties disagree and refuse to fulfill their commitment according to the terms and conditions earlier agreed upon. Contract disputes vary in nature and occur across different sectors in the state. As a result, they are addressed in different sections of the Colorado revised statutes. They are civil cases that can be resolved in the district and county courts of the Colorado court system.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are Contract Disputes in Colorado?

Contracts usually contain an outline of duties or commitments expected of each party in an agreement. Any deviation from the terms and conditions listed in these contracts will constitute a contract dispute in Colorado. This is when the parties bound together by a contract cannot agree on its execution or interpretation. These disputes can arise from different types of agreements such as leases, a simple purchase, medical care, construction, insurance, etc. Having a contract in place is a wise decision, regardless of the type of transaction or service involved. This is because, with a contract, when there are unforeseen circumstances and a disagreement about the terms and conditions arises, affected parties or parties can involve the state courts to secure a remedy.

What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in Colorado

The most common contract dispute in Colorado is the dispute of oral contracts or lack of written contracts. Although Colorado law recognizes and acknowledges oral contracts per the state Statute of Frauds, they are difficult to prove in court in a civil case proceeding. Other common contract disputes in Colorado fall under the following categories:

  • Payment disputes
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Property disputes
  • Sales related contract disputes
  • Non-disclosure agreement disputes
  • Disputes on intellectual property

What is Colorado Contract Law?

Legal contracts in Colorado are primarily governed by the Uniform Commercial Code of the Colorado Revised Statutes. This set of laws, along with Chapter 30 of the Civil Jury instructions, provide a legal framework for the formation, performance, and interpretation of legally binding and valid contracts within the state. Additionally, they regulate and resolve contractual disputes amongst parties in an agreement.

What is a Breach of Contract in Colorado?

A breach of contract is one of the most contract disputes in Colorado. When the terms and conditions of a valid contractual agreement are violated or unfulfilled, the contract is considered breached. In colorado, a breach of contract claim is addressed in court to help the affected party get remedies for any personal injuries or other effects caused by the breach. However, to make that claim in a colorado court, the plaintiff that initiates the breach of contract claim must first prove that a valid contract exists. The contract must consist of an offer, an acceptance of that offer, and a consideration. None of these can be absent in a valid contract.

After establishing that a valid contract exists, the plaintiff must prove that they performed their duties and contractual obligations substantially. Otherwise, they have to provide justifiable reasons for not performing them. They must also prove to the court that the breaching party did not perform their obligations as stated in the contract and that the individual failed to meet the contract’s requirements. Finally, the plaintiff has to show the court that they were resulting damages due to the breach of contract.

A breach may be material or non-material. A material breach constitutes a major deviation from the terms stated in the contract. It irreparably breaks a contract and renders the rest of the contract useless because the other obligations cannot be fulfilled. In contrast, non-material breaches are minor and do not alter the nature of the agreement. Such breaches do not affect the contract’s entire purpose, and the parties may still fulfill their contractual obligations. Factors that determine the materiality of a contract breach include:

  • The difficulty caused to the non-breaching party as a result of the breaching party’s actions
  • The level to which the breaching party fulfilled their contractual commitments
  • The presence of willful or negligent behavior of the breaching party
  • The possibility of the breaching party fulfilling the remainder of the contract
  • Whether the breaching party plans to compensate the other party for all injuries and damages caused

Breach of contract civil claims are resolved through mediation, arbitration, or litigation. From the resolution, a plaintiff or non-breaching party may recover the following damages:

  • Damages stated in the contract
  • The legal fees from the court proceedings
  • Net profits that would have been earned before the breach.

However, it is important to note any legal action over a breach of contract in Colorado is subject to the statute of limitations. Hence, any decision regarding the breach of contract litigation should be made within three years for written contracts and two years for oral contracts; otherwise, it will be invalid in court.

What are the Remedies for a Breach of Contract in Colorado?

In a breach of contract legal action, the non-breaching party may recover the damages that restore the profits and benefits that would have been rightfully theirs had the breach not occurred. Under Colorado law, a party affected by a breach of contract is entitled to recourse or remedy for all the damages caused. In most cases, non-breaching parties are compensated with monetary damages. However, on court orders, a plaintiff might be entitled to the following remedies:

  • Specific performance: This a court-ordered compliance. When the court determines that monetary damages will not suffice to make the appropriate remedies for a breach, it may order the defendant to fulfill the initial contract’s terms and conditions.
  • Rescission of contract: A court-ordered cancellation that restores both parties to their positions before the contract was made. This order or remedy discharges the parties from the obligations stated in the contract.
  • Injunctions: Depending on the circumstances surrounding a breach of contract litigation, an injunction could be a prohibitory order or a mandatory one. The prohibitory court order will forbid a party from performing an act, while the mandatory order mandates or forces them to perform one.

What Defenses Can Be Used Against a Breach of Contract Claim in Colorado?

A party accused of breach of contract can defend the claim by raising several defenses under state law such as:

  • Fraud in the Inducement: This defense addresses actions that led to the formation of the contract. Using this defense, the defendant has to prove that the plaintiff induced the agreement through malicious means such as lies, misrepresentations, and concealments.
  • Undue the Influence: The defense argues and proves that the plaintiff facilitated the agreement by applying undue and extreme pressure or by dominating their freewill.
  • Duress: The defense argues that they initially agreed with the contract’s terms and conditions due to threats from the other party.
  • Minority: Under state law, any contract signed with a minor under the age of 18 is voidable. Hence, the defense could use this claim as a defense if the individual in question is not an adult.
  • Mental Incapacity: The defendant could defend a breach by arguing that they were incapable of entering into the contract due to insane delusion that impaired their ability to understand the terms and conditions of the contract or obey them.
  • Impossibility of Performance: The defense could argue that they could not fulfill their contractual obligations due to circumstances they could not control.
  • Waiver: In this case, the plaintiff voluntarily gives up the right to pursue the claim against the breaching party.
  • Statute of Limitations; once the specified time for legal action is passed in Colorado, the court can no longer address the case. Hence, if the defendant can prove to the court that the statute of limitations is passed, the case will not be acknowledged.
  • Cancellation by Agreement: In this case, the defendant argues that the parties agreed to cancel their agreement before anyone could fulfill their commitment
  • Novation: This constitutes replacing and extinguishing an old valid contract with a newer and valid one. Hence, defendants that use this claim argue that their initial obligation was replaced by a newer one.

What are Property Disputes in Colorado?

Property disputes in Colorado are disagreements about real estate. They constitute different elements of real properties such as land, homes, water bodies, condominiums, etc. According to state laws, these disputes can be resolved in multiple ways, including litigation. The State of Colorado acknowledges these disputes and enforces the laws that govern these practices in court. Property and real estate law in Colorado is a broad and complicated legal area. It covers aspects of property disputes such as leases, tree damages, fences, etc.

Still, property line disputes of fencing/boundaries and tree damages are some of the most highly litigated disputes in Colorado. They usually involve disagreements about the encroachment of legal boundary lines. They are governed by Title 35 and Title of the Colorado revised statutes, respectively.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in Colorado?

Some common types of property disputes in Colorado include:

  • Disputes of sale of jointly owned properties.
  • Tree damage disputes
  • Farming disputes
  • Disputes regarding the division of proceeds from selling jointly owned properties.
  • Errors in title deeds of leases of properties.
  • Boundary fence disputes
  • Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1996 applications.
  • Adverse possession claims.
  • Disputes of noise nuisance claims
  • Disputes with trustees

How to Find Property Lines

Determining boundary lines where a property starts and ends are one of the fastest means of settling property disputes in Colorado. Typically, property owners will have surveys and deeds that define the boundaries of their property. In the absence of that, they can hire professionals such as surveyors to measure and determine the property lines.

More preferably, a property owner looking to determine property or boundary lines can obtain such information from the Colorado State Land Board. The state board maintains maps of properties in the state. The Geographic Information System (GIS) contains a public catalog of lands and estates across the state. Inquirers can view the database through the board’s map server.

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

Experienced property dispute lawyers deal with a range of issues related to real property in Colorado. They are solicitors that provide pragmatic advice and adequate legal representation to parties in a property dispute case. Although they are not always required or necessary in a property dispute case, it is advisable to hire one to protect one’s interest in a case.

Litigants in a property dispute case can obtain legal assistance through the multiple free or low-cost legal services and legal assistance programs in the state. The Colorado Bar Association provides legal assistance in the form of Licensed lawyers to any individual or entity that requires one.

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