Illinois Bar Journal

Articles on Contracts

Baseball and Modern Life

By Pete Sherman
May
2021
LawPulse
, Page 12
Chicago Cubs lose arbitration-clause argument against injured fan.

One-sided arbitration clauses are not per se unconscionable

May
2021
Illinois Law Update
, Page 16
On Feb. 18, 2021, the Fifth District of the Illinois Appellate Court held that one-sided arbitration clauses are not per se unconscionable; instead, unconscionability hinges on the totality of the circumstances.

Literally Taking the Case

By Andrew R. Schwartz & John Cerney
December
2020
Article
, Page 24
With a bit of luck and outside-the-box thinking, the clever litigator can save the day by seizing the opponent’s cause of action

Is Your Contract Immune to COVID-19?

September
2020
Article
, Page 16
Testing the limits and technicalities of force majeure.

Breaking the Statute of Limitations With Oral On-Demand Loans

By Benjamin R. Lawson
August
2020
Article
, Page 28
Examining when the statute of limitations begins to run for oral on-demand contracts.

Remote witnessing and notarization now available 

August
2020
Illinois Law Update
, Page 14
The General Assembly amended the Electronic Commerce Security Act to allow notarial and witnessing acts to be performed through “two-way audio-video communication technology that allows for direct contemporaneous interaction by sight and sound between the individual signing the document, the witness and the notary public.”

Party’s decision to terminate contract dispels all duties absent relevant survival clause

July
2020
Illinois Law Update
, Page 14
On May 1, 2020, the Third District Appellate Court held that the circuit court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant when it held that the plaintiff breached its contract by failing to provide notice to the defendant prior to pursuing a legal remedy.

COVID-19 and the Commercial Frustration Doctrine

June
2020
Article
, Page 18
The doctrine of commercial frustration offers a pathway to challenge pandemic-stymied contracts lacking clear force majeure clauses.

Evidence of oral agreement created an implied-in-fact contract between parties

May
2020
Illinois Law Update
, Page 16
The plaintiff and defendant entered into a written contract, under which the plaintiff provided equipment consulting services to the defendant.

Unimplied Warranty

By Rhys Saunders
June
2019
LawPulse
, Page 10
Illinois Supreme Court rules that buyers of new homes can't sue subcontractors under an implied-warranty-of-habitability theory.

From the Newsletters - Renewable Energy Construction Contracts

By Nathan Hinch
February
2019
Article
, Page 18
Before giving away the (solar or wind) farm, caveat emptor tips for land owners and bidding contractors.
1 comment (Most recent April 18, 2019)

Mending the Hold

By Stanley C. Nardoni
December
2018
Article
, Page 32
Can a legal doctrine named after an old wrestling term escape from under the pin of the Illinois Appellate Court?

Understanding the Limits on Indemnity Agreements

By Scott O. Reed
January
2018
Article
, Page 34
Do indemnity agreements typically require payment of the indemnified party's attorney fees? Can a party cap the amount of its liability, or is doing so against public policy? Here's a look at some of the key questions that arise in indemnity contracts.

What ‘As Is’ Is - and Isn’t

By Dmitry N. Feofanov
February
2017
Article
, Page 32
Sellers can use "as is" to disclaim implied warranties. But they can't disclaim fraud, and "as is" only applies if no "circumstances indicate otherwise" and the seller has not waived the disclaimer.

Breach of contract claim starts timer for legal malpractice claim

January
2017
Illinois Law Update
, Page 20
Filing a breach of contract claim triggers the limitations period for a legal malpractice claim against the attorney who assisted in drafting the contract.

Are Courts Moving Past the ‘Four Corners’ Rule in Duty-to-Defend Cases?

By Richard J. VanSwol
December
2016
Article
, Page 30
Illinois courts seem increasingly willing to look beyond the terms of the policy and allegations of the complaint when deciding whether a liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured.

The Provisional Admission of Parol Evidence?

By Aaron T. Dozeman
May
2015
Article
, Page 34
The four corners rule bars admission of parol evidence to interpret contracts unless they're ambiguous. But in rare cases, the provisional admission approach might allow such evidence.

New residential real estate contract incorporates common modifications

By Matthew Hector
October
2014
LawPulse
, Page 466
A new version of the widely used multi-board real estate contract incorporates the most common changes lawyers made in its predecessor.
2 comments (Most recent February 20, 2015)

Protect Your Business Clients with a Prejudgment Interest Provision

By Kaitlyn Anne Wild
August
2014
Article
, Page 394
Damage awards can take years, and Illinois' prejudgment interest statute doesn't always apply. Why not include a prejudgment interest provision in contracts for your business clients?
1 comment (Most recent September 3, 2014)

Provision requiring mutual and written consent for termination of contract is void as against public policy

April
2014
Illinois Law Update
, Page 168
On February 7, 2014, the First District Appellate Court of Illinois held that a contract provision stating the agreement could only be terminated upon the express written consent of both parties created a perpetual contract, and was therefore void as contrary to public policy.

Principal must have full knowledge or have indicated agent had authorization to ratify contract

May
2013
Illinois Law Update
, Page 228
On March 8, 2013, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held there must be evidence that a principal indicated an agent was authorized to bind the principal to a contract prior to its signing, or that the principal had knowledge of the contract, for the principal to be liable under claims of apparent authority or ratification.

The Two Faces of Contract Ambiguity Claims

By Jack Leyhane
May
2012
Article
, Page 264
You could argue that a contract provision is ambiguous because it has more than one meaning. Or you could argue that it doesn't have any clear meaning. The article looks at both approaches.
2 comments (Most recent August 16, 2013)

Employment covenants not to compete: the high court lays down the law

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
January
2012
LawPulse
, Page 10
Rumors of the death of the legitimate-business-interest test as a measure for determining the legitimacy of restrictive covenants were greatly exaggerated, the supreme court says.
1 comment (Most recent December 22, 2011)

Two-year limitation on claims under insurance policy violates Illinois public policy

November
2011
Illinois Law Update
, Page 556
On August 30, 2011, the Appellate Court for the Third District of Illinois reversed a circuit court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration.

Civil engineers’ duty of care defined by contractual obligation

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2011
LawPulse
, Page 118

Supreme court: contractors can enforce oral home-repair contracts

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
November
2010
LawPulse
, Page 558

2008 Global Credit Crisis and the Impossibility of Performance Doctrine

October
2010
Illinois Law Update
, Page 508
On July 19, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, upheld a section 2-615 motion to dismiss from the Circuit Court of Cook County, finding that the 2008 global credit crisis was not adequate grounds to rescind a contract under the doctrine of impossibility of performance.

Third-party clients of licensed day and temporary labor service agencies face stiffer penalties for failure to meet their agreements. PA 096-1185

October
2010
Illinois Law Update
, Page 508
A third-party client is now legally responsible to pay wages and payroll taxes to licensed day and temporary labor service agencies for the services performed according to the terms in the respective invoices and agreements. (820 ILCS 175/30). 

Violations of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act do not render a contract void and unenforceable

September
2010
Illinois Law Update
, Page 452
On June 30, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed a decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County, finding that a contractor's procedural violations of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act ("the Act") (815 ILCS 513/1 et seq) did not preclude the contractor from asserting a mechanic's lien or breach of contract claim.

Failure to provide a sworn statement detailing construction fees does not automatically defeat a breach of contract claim

December
2009
Illinois Law Update
, Page 604
On September 30, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed in part and reversed in part the Circuit Court of Du Page County's decision to grant the defendant's motion to dismiss a complaint stemming from an unpaid construction bill, and remanded the case for further proceedings. 

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