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Handling Disputes Over Business Contracts in Illinois

 Posted on March 12, 2024 in Commercial Litigation

Chicago commercial litigation lawyerAs a business owner or executive, you may encounter contract disputes at some point. These disagreements can be stressful and potentially damaging to your company if handled improperly. An Illinois lawyer can discuss effective strategies for resolving business contract disputes in accordance with Illinois law, helping you protect your interests and maintain productive professional relationships.

Understand Your Contract

Before taking any action, thoroughly review the contract in question. Pay close attention to the following:

  • Terms and conditions.
  • Performance obligations.
  • Deadlines and milestones.
  • Dispute resolution clauses.

Understanding your contract is crucial because it forms the legal foundation of your agreement. It outlines what is expected from all parties involved and provides a roadmap for how to proceed with your business relationship. Paying close attention to the terms and conditions, performance obligations, deadlines, milestones, and dispute resolution clauses can ensure you are well informed about your responsibilities and rights.

Communicate with the Other Party

When a dispute arises, it is essential to maintain open and professional communication with the other party. Follow the following tips:

  • Reach out in writing, clearly stating your concerns and proposed solutions.
  • Be respectful and avoid using accusatory or inflammatory language.
  • Provide evidence to support your position, such as emails, invoices, or other relevant documents.
  • Set a reasonable deadline for a response, and be open to negotiating a mutually beneficial resolution.

By engaging in constructive dialogue, you may be able to resolve the dispute without resorting to legal action.

Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

If direct negotiations prove unsuccessful, consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation or arbitration. These approaches are often faster and less expensive than litigation and can help preserve business relationships. Illinois's Uniform Mediation Act (710 ILCS 35/) governs mediation proceedings, ensuring confidentiality and procedural fairness.

When selecting an ADR method, refer to your contract's dispute resolution clause if one exists. Suppose your contract does not specify an ADR process. In that case, you can still propose mediation or arbitration to the other party, highlighting the potential benefits of a more amicable and efficient resolution.

Litigation as a Last Resort

If ADR efforts fail or the other party is uncooperative, you may need to pursue litigation. In Illinois, business contract disputes are governed by the Illinois Commercial Code (810 ILCS 5/) and relevant case law. Before filing a lawsuit, consider the following:

  • Statute of limitations: In Illinois, the statute of limitations for written contract disputes is ten years (735 ILCS 5/13-206), while oral contracts have a 5-year limitation (735 ILCS 5/13-205).
  • Jurisdiction: Based on factors like the amount of controversy and the parties involved, determine the appropriate court for your case, such as the Circuit Court or the Court of Claims.
  • Evidence: Gather all relevant documents, correspondence, and other evidence to support your claim.

While litigation can be a powerful tool for enforcing your rights, it can also be time-consuming, expensive, and potentially damaging to business relationships. Consider this option carefully, and discuss the pros and cons with your attorney before proceeding.

Contact a Chicago, IL Commercial Litigation Lawyer

Dealing with business contract disputes requires a strategic and informed approach. By understanding your contract, communicating effectively with the other party, exploring ADR methods, and carefully considering litigation, you can protect your company's interests and potentially resolve disputes. Remember to consult with a Cook County, IL commercial litigation attorney throughout the process to ensure the best possible outcome for your company. We represent clients in the U.S. and nationally and have been in business for over 100 years. Call Teller, Levit & Silvertrust, P.C. at 312-922-3030 for a private consultation.

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