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Cedar Rapids Architect and Design Contract Disputes Attorneys

It can be stressful and a financial burden to dispute a contract with the contractor, designer, architect, or another party for their failed design of your commercial or residential project. If this is happening to you, contact the experienced and dedicated team of Cedar Rapids architect and design contract law attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC for help in recovering the losses you suffered.

The design of a commercial or residential project often involves a written or oral contract that outlines the requirements for the project. The language in a contract outlines the project and governs your remedies when a contract dispute arises. [firm name] is an experienced team of lawyers who can be on your side to help you through this challenging process. Call us at (319) 363-8199 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.

What Is a Contract?

The Iowa State Bar Association defines a contract as “[a]n agreement between two or more parties, in which each party gives up something of value in return for another thing of value and that creates by its terms enforceable obligations.” What does this mean?

Think of a contract as an offer by one person or entity and acceptance of that offer by a second person or entity. Then the parties exchange something of value (also called consideration). In most cases, the consideration is money. Contracts may be between people or businesses or any combination thereof. Contracts may also be oral or written. Both written and oral contracts may be valid and enforceable if they meet certain legal elements.

What Makes Up a Written Contract?

Written contracts generally contain clauses and language that are common in most contracts. These sections can read like confusing “legalese,” but they may directly impact what you can do if you discover that you have a design flaw in your project. The areas of a contract that may be important in your contract dispute include:

  • Parties to the contract
  • Payment terms
  • Services provided by a party
  • Notice of default
  • Time to cure a default
  • Pre-suit mediation
  • Arbitration clause
  • Governing law and venue
  • Exculpatory clause
  • Recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs

Only the parties who are part of the contract may be liable for breaches of the contract. Surprisingly, some contracts are not clear on the identity of the parties. Confusion may arise if the introduction names one party, but another party signs the contract. For example, it can be unclear when the introduction lists a business as a party, but an individual signs the contract without specifying if they are signing on behalf of the business. If your contract is unclear about who the parties to the contract are, Arenson Law Group, PC has the experience to determine the correct parties to submit a claim to or to name in a lawsuit.

In addition to identifying the parties, the contract may also outline specific steps to take before filing a lawsuit. These steps may include providing notice of the default, allowing the breaching party a certain amount of time to correct the default, or participating in pre-suit mediation. The contract may require that you serve default notices to a specific person, at a particular address, and in a specific manner (such as certified mail). Pre-suit mediation means that the parties agree to bring their dispute to a neutral third party to resolve the matter before instigating litigation. Arenson Law Group, PC can represent you in pre-suit mediation.

Arbitration clauses in a contract mean that a party may not bring a civil lawsuit but must instead submit their claim to one or more arbitrators. Arbitration means that the parties must abide by an arbitrator’s decision.  Courts generally enforce arbitration clauses, but there are exceptions. The Code of Iowa allows for such exceptions when it states: “A provision in a written contract to submit to arbitration a future controversy arising between the parties is valid, enforceable, and irrevocable unless grounds exist at law or in equity for the revocation of the contract.” Contact Arenson Law Group, PC to discuss whether your contract has any arbitration clauses. We can also represent you in an arbitration proceeding.

The governing law and venue section of a contract determines which law governs the contract and where to file a lawsuit. Finally, the contract may have a clause stating that the prevailing party to a contract dispute may recover their attorneys’ fees and costs from the other party.

What Is a Breach of Contract?

A breach of contract occurs when one party does not fulfill some part of their contractual obligations. Breaches of contract may occur on written or oral contracts. Breaches of contract related to design flaws may include the failure to design the project according to the owner’s plans and specifications or creating a design that does not comply with applicable building codes.

The breaching party may raise certain defenses, such as not understanding the contract or the scope of the services or items to be performed in the contract. Another defense that the breaching party may raise is if there is an exculpatory clause in the contract. Exculpatory clauses are in contracts to limit the liability of a party if something goes wrong. Enforcement of exculpatory clauses may often depend on the circumstances of the case, the language of the clause itself, and prevailing case law.

The dedicated attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC research all current case law to fight to make you whole. We will fight for you to overcome any attempts by the at-fault party to limit their liability for your damages.

What Is the Iowa Statute of Limitations?

The Iowa statute of limitations restricts the time you have to file a lawsuit. Under Code of Iowa §614.1, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for breach of a written contract is ten years. The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for breach of an oral contract is five years. The time starts to run when the breach occurs. Now is the time to discuss your case with Arenson Law Group, PC to determine what your legal remedies are.

Contact Us

Our knowledgeable Cedar Rapids architecture and design law attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC have over 70 years of legal experience recovering compensation for parties in contract disputes. Contact us today at (319) 363-8199 for a free consultation about your case.