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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in Virginia

A contract in Virginia is an enforceable agreement regarding pre-determined duties, compromise, and satisfaction expected of the participating entities. Most disputes are due to the failure to fulfill one or several terms and conditions of the contract. When contracting parties fail to resolve a dispute, the aggrieved party must turn to the Virginia judiciary for final adjudication. Court officials maintain documents filed and created during the ensuing proceedings.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching for records simpler, as geographic locations do not limit their activities. Thus, the search engines on third-party sites may help when starting a search for 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 persons involved in the case. These include information such as the city, county, or state of residence or accusation.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not government-sponsored. Consequently, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are Contract Disputes in Virginia?

Contract disputes, per Title 11 of the Code of Virginia, are disagreements over the performance or non-performance of contractual obligations. Disputes also arise when a party performs outside contract terms or over the enforceability of a contract. 

What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in Virginia?

The creation of a contract does not only involve private businesses. Virginia Code recognizes enforceable agreements between and among private individuals, businesses, corporations, and public agencies. Common disputes include:

  • Employment contract disputes: This mostly involves when employer and employee disagree on their vertical relationship. This type of contract dispute borders issues such as wage disputes, discrimination and harassment claims, severance agreements, and wrongful termination. Another example involves the ownership of intellectual property created during work time or with company resources.
  • Insurance contract disputes: These are disagreements between the insurer (policy provider) and the insured (policyholder) over the insurance policy. Common causes include change of beneficiary, indemnification clause, incontestability clause, and anti-lapse clause.
  • Domestic relationship contract disputes: These disputes often stem from the terms of a cohabitation contract, prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, or divorce settlements. Most domestic contract disputes arise from failure to fulfill a predetermined agreement. Other times, the parties are contesting the fairness of an agreement.
  • Real estate contract disputes: A disagreement relating to landed property and the individuals who have permanent or temporary claims to the property, i.e., the owner and tenants. Common causes of disputes include transaction fraud, contingency clause, terms of purchase, and responsibility for repairs.
  • Construction contract disputes: Many of the contract disputes that arise here are due to project mismanagement. The parties involved include the owner, main contractor, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and design professionals. Common causes include communication error, failure to deliver by a deadline, withholding payments, and unplanned changes to a project.

What is Virginia Contract Law?

Virginia Contract Law refers to statutes that govern the creation and enforcement of a contract between competent parties in the state. The law also makes provisions for the remedies for a breach of contract. Although the legislature codified the state contract law in Title 11, the judiciary also resolves contract disputes using the existing body of common law and relevant chapters of the Code of Virginia.

What is a Breach of Contract in Virginia?

Virginia defines a breach as when a party fails to perform any obligation promptly and without legal excuse. The state also regards a contract breach as when a party repudiates a contract, exceeds a contractual use term, or fails to comply with a statutory or contractual obligation. A breach, whether or not material, entitles the aggrieved party to its remedies. (Vir. Code. § 59.1–507.1).. The statute also describes where a breach of contract is material or immaterial.

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

Generally, the aggrieved party must notify the other party of the breach and request that the breaching party makes amends. If this attempt fails, the party may file a civil suit in court. The parties involved in a breach of contract lawsuit will have the opportunity to resolve the dispute via arbitration and mediation before the trial begins.

During the trial, the plaintiff must establish a breach of contract and show proof of notification. The burden of proof is on the defendant to show no contract breach exists per the terms of the contract or state laws. Both parties must use evidentiary materials to support arguments and claims.

Meanwhile, the parties may also reach a settlement agreement before the presiding judge issues a final verdict. The final verdict is the judge’s order for the remedy applicable to a case after review. These include:

  • Damages: The court orders the breaching party to pay monetary compensation for a breach. The award of damages is per the reasonable estimation of the loss incurred by the aggrieved party.
  • Specific Performance: This remedy typically applies when the loss is inestimable, compensation is insufficient, or the breaching party cannot pay damages. Thus, the breaching party must fulfill contractual obligations based on the stipulated terms or risk civil or criminal liabilities for contempt of the court.
  • Cancellation: The court orders the parties to end a contract for breach. Cancellation is typically a last resort, and the aggrieved party retains any remedy for breach of the whole contract or any unperformed balance (Vir. Code. § 8.2–106).

The statute of limitation for initiating court action for breach of contract depends on the nature of the contract. Claims under the Uniform Commercial Code have a time limit of ten years (Vir. Code. § 8.01–246).. Claims for breach of construction contracts have a time limit of fifteen years (Vir. Code. § 2.2–4340.1),, while breach of sale contracts have a four-year limitation (Vir. Code. § 8.2–725)..

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

The following legal arguments nullify a claim of breach of contract in Virginia:

  • Duress
  • Mistake of fact
  • Negligence
  • Fraud
  • Unconscionability
  • Incapacity to contract
  • The illegality of the contract
  • Tortious interference

What are Property Disputes in Virginia? 

Property disputes are civil cases involving disputes on property ownership and rights of property owners in Virginia. Title 55.1 of the Virginia Code embodies most of the state laws on properties, but the judiciary uses applicable statutes and the body of common law to resolve contract disputes.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in Virginia?

Some of the commonly reported property disputes in Virginia involve:

  • Real estate fraud
  • Landlord-tenant dispute
  • Easement dispute
  • Boundary dispute
  • Tree damage

How to Find Property Lines

Property lines or boundary lines are defined points that show the boundaries of adjoining parcels of land. Interested individuals may find information on property lines on survey reports or property records at the county assessor’s office.

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

Interested persons may use the lawyer referral service of the Virginia State Bar.

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