Five Year Oral Statute of Limitations Applies to Mixed Oral or Written Contracts

The statute of limitations that applies to a contract that is both oral and written is generally that of an oral contract. This is because if essential terms of the contract cannot be fully ascertained from the written contract itself and require oral evidence to be complete, it is treated as an oral contract for the purposes of the statute of limitations.

Illustratively, in Illinois, actions on written contracts are generally subject to a 10-year statute of limitations, while actions on oral contracts have a 5-year statute of limitations. Therefore, for a contract that is both oral and written, the 5-year statute of limitations would be applied.

Moreover, a contract is considered to be written if all the essential terms of the contract are in writing and can be determined from the document itself. If additional oral evidence is needed to make the contract complete, then the contract is treated as being oral under the statute of limitations. However, if parol evidence is not necessary to establish the existence of an essential term, but is used to interpret a term, the contract is deemed a written contract and the ten-year statute of limitations applies.

In Illinois, whether a mixed oral and written contract falls under the statute of limitations for oral or written contracts depends on the completeness of the written portion of the contract. If the written part of the contract includes all essential terms, such as the parties involved, the nature of the transaction, the amount in question, and an intention to repay the debt, it is treated as a written contract and is subject to the ten-year statute of limitations. The ten-year limitation applies to actions on written contracts, among other types of written obligations, according to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

On the other hand, if the written contract does not name all parties or if any of the essential terms require oral evidence to be determined, the contract is considered to be oral in nature. In such cases, the five-year statute of limitations for oral contracts applies. This is exemplified in the case of Kordewick v. Indiana Harbor Belt R. Co., where an agreement not naming all parties in the written contract was legally treated as an oral contract.

However, the interpretation of a mixed contract as either oral or written can vary. Individual case facts and circumstances play a significant role in determining the applicable statute of limitations. For instance, in the case of Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. Jordan, the contract was considered partly written and partly oral because oral evidence was required to identify all parties. A similar situation arose in Portfolio Acquisitions, L.L.C. v. Feltman, involving a credit card debt, where the applicable statute of limitations was the five-year statute for oral contracts, not the ten-year statute for written contracts. Hence, the classification of a contract as written or oral for the purposes of the statute of limitations can depend on a case-by-case analysis.

Choosing a law firm like Lubin Austermuehle to represent you in a breach of contract business lawsuit can depend on various factors, which could make them a suitable choice. Here are some considerations:

  1. Concentration and Experience: If Lubin Austermuehle concentrates on breach of contract cases and has a significant track record of handling similar disputes, this expertise can be invaluable. Experienced attorneys are more likely to understand the nuances of such cases and can navigate the legal system effectively.
  2. Reputation: The firm’s reputation in the legal community and among past clients can be a strong indicator of their capability. Positive testimonials, high ratings, or awards in the field of business litigation might suggest a high level of competence and client satisfaction.
  3. Resources and Team: Complex business litigation often requires substantial resources, including access to expert witnesses, investigators, and a team of attorneys who can work on different aspects of a case. A well-resourced firm like Lubin Austermuehle might be better equipped to handle extensive legal battles.
  4. Communication and Approach: A law firm that communicates clearly and regularly with clients, and has an approach that aligns with your needs and expectations, can be crucial. Understanding your goals and having a strategy that resonates with your business objectives is important.
  5. Success Rate: If the firm has a strong track record of winning cases or securing favorable settlements in breach of contract disputes, this could indicate their proficiency in such matters.
  6. Cost and Billing Practices: Understanding how the firm bills, whether they offer contingency fee arrangements or flat rates, and how they manage litigation costs, can be essential, especially for businesses concerned about legal expenses.
  7. Local Knowledge: Familiarity with the local courts and judges, as well as state-specific contract laws, can be advantageous. If Lubin Austermuehle is well-acquainted with the legal environment in your jurisdiction, this could be beneficial.

It’s important to conduct thorough research and possibly consult with the firm or other legal advisors before making a decision. Each case is unique, and the suitability of a law firm can vary based on the specific details of the case and the client’s individual needs.

For a free consultation call us at 630-333-0333 or contact us online.

Contact Information