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Ohio Court Records

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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in Ohio

In Ohio, contract disputes occur when there are disagreements regarding the terms and conditions of a contract, while property disputes refer to conflicts regarding real estate. These disputes cover a wide range of possible contractual disputes within different industries and property types; hence, they are governed by different sections of the Ohio Revised Codes. Ohio contract and property disputes are typically between individuals, property owners, businesses or organizations, and the government. The conflicting parties are generally required to file a suit in an Ohio Civil Court.

The Ohio trial court system consists of Courts of Common Pleas, County Courts, Municipal Courts, and Court of Claims. These courts all handle civil cases, including contract and property disputes. However, the Court of Common Pleas has general jurisdiction over civil matters, while the Court of Claims handles civil cases against Ohio and its agencies.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a 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 person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are Contract Disputes in Ohio?

Contract disputes describe a broad category of civil litigation cases in Ohio. A contract dispute occurs when a party or parties involved in the contract are in disagreement regarding the terms or definitions contained within the contract. This is considered a breach of contract, where a party refuses to fulfill his/her end of the agreement specified in the contract.

In Ohio, most of the contract disputes fall under the following categories:

  • Construction contracts
  • Employment contracts
  • Business contracts
  • Sales contracts
  • Real estate contracts
  • Insurance contracts.

Contract disputes could be between individuals, businesses, or organizations, and even the government. There are many provisions made in the Ohio Revised Codes for varying contract disputes in different industries and based on various contracts. For contract disputes involving the government and a contractor, the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 was designed as a standard resolution process.

What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in Ohio

Common contract disputes in Ohio are caused by;

  • Lack of a written contract.
  • Errors or omissions in the contract during drafting, and without a review.
  • Ambiguity and lack of clear expectations in written a contract. This may include the absence of clearly stated deadlines, vague wordings etc.
  • No contingency plans, thereby allowing for unexpected delays or other potential problems
  • A party's non-compliance or unwillingness to fulfill one or more aspects of the contract. With an aspect of the contract. This is otherwise known as Breach of Contract.
  • Persuading a party into negotiations by fraud or by threat.

What is Ohio Contract Law?

The common law governing contracts in the United States of America is the Second Restatement of the Law Contracts. This law provided a bedrock of general principles of common contract law. It is a guide to modern contract law throughout the country, including Ohio.

The only exceptions to Ohio's laws are "contracts for goods" (commercial transactions and sales) controlled by various Ohio Statutes such as the Uniform Commercial Code.

What is a Breach of Contract in Ohio?

According to the Ohio State Bar Association, a breach of contract ensues when one of the parties involved in a valid contract does not fulfill the contract's requirements to the agreed standard. When the breaching party does not do what was specified in the contract, the wronged party has the right to take legal action and file a lawsuit.

Breach of contract lawsuits in Ohio are governed under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), Ohio common law, or Ohio consumer protection laws.

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

Contract disputes are typically remedied by either equitable or legal remedies. Legal remedies are usually in the form of financial damages awarded to the plaintiff, while equitable remedies require both parties to take 'action' to resolve the dispute.

In an Ohio breach of contract, the remedies available to a plaintiff depends on the type and terms of the contract per Ohio uniform commercial code

Legal Remedies

Money damages refer to the monetary payments which a breaching party has to make for violating the terms of the contract, and the extent of the damages determines it. They include:

  • Compensatory Damages:The breaching party will have to pay an amount which replaces the loss incurred by the other party
  • Punitive Damages:This a requested remedy by the plaintiff to punish the breaching party. They are sometimes awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
  • Restitution: The defendant will be required to give back any money or property received from the plaintiff under the contract.

Equitable Remedies

Equitable remedies recognized in Ohio courts include:

  • Reformation; The court simply changes or rewrites the terms of the contract to correct any injustice or unfairness.  
  • Specific Performance. This remedy makes the breaching party perform his/her duty as specified in the contract. It is used when money isn't enough compensation.
  • Rescission or Cancellation remedy. This essentially means that the contract is canceled and that neither party has no duty to perform.

How to file a Breach of Contract Claim in Ohio

If there's been a breach of contract, the wronged party may consider an informal attempt at resolution. If this proves unsuccessful, the individual may file a lawsuit by doing the following;

  • Draft a complaint with the help of an attorney and fill the appropriate civil lawsuit forms. The complaint will contain details of the lawsuit such as the plaintiff's name and address, the defendant's name and address, and brief statements on the facts of the lawsuit.
  • Complete the summons to notify the breaching party of the lawsuit. It contains the plaintiff's name and contact information, court address, and the date by which the defendant must respond. All documents should be signed, dated, and photocopied.
  • File the drafted complaint and other documents with the clerk of the court where the case will be heard with the appropriate fees, including a deposit of jury fees, which are usually between $100.00 - $200.00. The jury fees only apply if the plaintiff wants the case to be heard by a jury instead of a judge.
  • Finally, the defendant should be served with the legal notice of the lawsuit after the complaint has been filed.

In order to file a complaint/suit, the plaintiff must be able to:

  • Prove the existence and validity of the contract,
  • Prove an actual breach or non-performance of the breaching party with no lawful excuse for such behavior.
  • Outline the damages caused by the breach.
  • Prove that they upheld their own end of the contract

Furthermore, the plaintiff must file this claim within the statute of limitations. If the case is filed afterward, it will be dismissed by the court. In Ohio, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for breach of a written contract is 8 years and 6 years for breach of an oral contract.

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

When defending against a breach of contract claim, the defense must raise enough legal defenses at the early stages of the case. There are several legal reasons that a defendant may use in defense. Such as:

  • Legitimate unforeseen circumstances prevented the contract terms from being met.
  • Concealment or misrepresentation of contract details.
  • The contract wasn't in writing, especially if the Ohio Statute of Frauds requires the type of contract in question to be in writing.
  • Lack of capacity to contract or understand the contract.
  • The contract was Induced by fraud or threat.
  • An unfair contract where the bargaining power of both sides is imbalanced and the defendant is taken advantage of.
  • An Illegal contract.
  • Statute of limitations deadline: According to state laws, a breach of contract claim must be filed in a court within the Ohio civil statutes of limitations for it to be valid. All claims declared more than ten years after completion will be dismissed.

What are Property Disputes in Ohio?

Property disputes in Ohio occur when parties have legal disagreements involving real property or estate, which is usually an immovable property on a piece of land. The parties involved in these disputes usually include the property owners and neighbors, tenants, trespassers, family members, landlords, tenants, builders, developers, and even the government.

Property disputes in the state cover an array of different situations, parties, and scenarios. Hence, many laws are guiding the resolution of these disputes between certain parties in specific situations. Typically, property disputes are guided by Ohio real property and commercial transaction codes.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in Ohio?

The most common type of property disputes in the US state of Ohio Include:

  • Location of Property line disputes
  • Tree damage disputes.
  • Fence boundary disputes
  • Property tax disputes
  • Disputes regarding new construction repairs that can't be decided upon by a homeowner and the developer.
  • Zoning disputes
  • Landlord-Tenant Disputes on repairs, eviction, and security deposits.
  • Homeowner Association Responsibilities which brings up questions of who is responsible for neighborhood maintenance and upkeep.
  • Ownership Disputes

How to Find Property Lines

Property lines, or boundary lines, are the defined points where a property owner's land ends, and the neighboring lands begin. They are used to determine ownership of different parcels and help an owner determine where to place certain items, such as fences without breaking any laws or breaching neighboring boundaries.

How to Find Property lines in Ohio

  • The property deed received after purchasing the property will have worded descriptions of where the boundaries lie.
  • Using the County Assessor's Mapping tools.
  • Hiring a Land surveyor to determine and mark property boundaries
  • Pre-existing line markers from previous surveys and land division

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

In order to find a property dispute lawyer in Ohio, consider doing one of the following;

  • Contact the City or County Courthouse for suggestions or use the court self-help centers.
  • Contact the Ohio State Bar Association to access the directory of legal aid providers within the state.
  • Find Legal Aid non-profit organizations that provide free legal services within the county. A popular example is the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation.
  • Contract a law School in Ohio that runs a pro-bono program in which the law students can offer free legal advice.
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