Illinois Bar Journal


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Articles on Contracts

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.
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?
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.
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.
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 Where the contract provided for "replacement" of a bridge deck, the defendant engineer had no duty to make improvements that might have saved lives, the high court said.
Supreme court: contractors can enforce oral home-repair contracts By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2010 LawPulse, Page 558 The high court looks to a recent revision in the Home Repair and Remodeling Act in holding that a contractor can enforce an oral contract against a homeowner.
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. 
Jordan v Knafel: A Troubling Take on Mutual Mistake? By Joseph Siprut June 2009 Article, Page 308 The first district found for Micheal Jordan against his former mistress in a case that, while interesting, includes a troubling analysis of the mutual-mistake doctrine you should know about.
Promissory Estoppel: Alive and Well in Illinois By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2009 LawPulse, Page 220 The Illinois Supreme court holds that promises "reasonably inducing action or forbearance" are binding in Illinois.
Drafting Enforceable Noncompetition Agreements in Illinois By Peter A. Steinmeyer April 2009 Article, Page 194 Learn how to increase the odds that your employer-client’s noncompete will pass judicial muster in Illinois’ unfriendly legal environment.
Only actual damages are recoverable under Breach of Promise Act November 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 554 On August 20, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County finding that the defendant had committed legal malpractice.
Fraudulent Misrepresentation in Illinois Employment Cases By Richard J. Gonzalez September 2008 Article, Page 464 More at-will employees who have been misled by employers' oral promises are suing for fraudulent misrepresentation instead of breach of contract.
The “Buyer’s Option” Contract in Illinois By John J. D’Attomo August 2008 Article, Page 418 Recent opinions have recognized a buyer's-option contract that obligates sellers to sell without also requiring buyers to buy.
Winning the Battle of the Forms By William J. Ryan and John B. Thornton July 2008 Article, Page 364 Many contracts are formed by the exchange of price quotes, purchase orders, and invoices, which often contain conflicting terms. This article reviews typical "battle of the forms" issues.
Caveat Contractor: Recent Cases Interpret the Home Repair and Remodeling Act By Brian R. Kalb June 2008 Article, Page 298 A discussion of recent HRRA cases, including a new one from the supreme court holding that the Act doesn't apply to subcontractors.
Fraudulent misrepresentation tort limited to business By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2008 LawPulse, Page 278 Fraudulent misrepresentation applies only to business-related, not personal, injury, the Illinois Supreme Court rules.
Home Repair and Remodeling Act: unfair to contractors? By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2008 LawPulse, Page 278 A newsletter author argues that the Act is unfair to contractors and that the recent supreme court case interpreting it defeats its purpose.
Restrictive covenant unenforceable due to termination of employment agreement May 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 236 On February 21, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County denying the plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction.
Seller must refund earnest money deposit for failure to provide real estate disclosure statement April 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 On January 30, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Christian County awarding the plaintiffs $10,000 plus costs for the defendant's failure to provide the plaintiffs with a real estate disclosure statement. 
Illinois supremes reject pre-existing debt rule By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 LawPulse, Page 622 Under the rule, A’s promise to pay B’s debt is enforceable even if A didn’t put it in writing if it’s made before the debt was incurred. The high court says that’s not the law in Illinois.
Melena and Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in Employment Contracts By Andrew Harris August 2007 Article, Page 418 A look at the Illinois Supreme Court's arbitration-friendly decision in Melena, complete with pointers for drafting or challenging arbitration clauses in its wake.
Liquidated Damages: The Forgotten Remedy in Noncompete Disputes By Kenneth J. Vanko May 2007 Article, Page 254 Damages are often difficult to prove in unfair competition cases. Liquidated damages clauses can provide an effective - and efficient - remedy.