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Wisconsin Court Records

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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in Wisconsin 

In Wisconsin, when different individuals and entities agree to enter a special work relationship, they are advised by law to have contracts. These contracts serve as visual representations of the agreement that holds each party to their duties and obligations under certain terms and conditions. Contractual disputes then occur when the parties that agreed to the terms of the contract refuse to perform the duties or obligations to fulfill their agreement.

Property disputes constitute disagreements relating to real property in Wisconsin. According to state laws, with litigation, mediation, or arbitration, affected parties in these disputes are entitled to certain remedies which they can obtain through the intervention of the Wisconsin Court System. Wisconsin Circuit courts have original jurisdiction in settling contract disputes in the state. Also, depending on the value of what is in dispute, Wisconsin’s small claims court of Wisconsin can also address these disputes.

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 Wisconsin?

Contract disputes in the state of Wisconsin typically occur when there is a misunderstanding in the interpretation of a valid contract. A valid and well-drafted contract typically helps parties in a business or legal relationship avoid miscommunications and misunderstanding. It clearly and concisely defines the terms, conditions, and standards, assign responsibilities, and provides remedies in the case of a breach. Therefore, when a party refuses to follow the stated terms, a contract dispute has occurred. 

According to state laws, a non-breaching party could demand remedies for the resulting damages from the dispute through various means, including litigation.

Most contract dispute litigation issues in Wisconsin are associated with the following:

  • Employment contracts and employee agreements
  • Business contracts
  • Partnership and shareholder agreements
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements
  • Noncompete agreements
  • Contractor agreements
  • Non Solicitation agreements
  • Commission agreements
  • Independent contractor agreements

What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in Wisconsin

Contract disputes in Wisconsin may vary across different sectors of business. Notwithstanding, the most common contract disputes in the state include:

  • Disputes between business partners regarding offer and acceptance
  • Violation of non compete agreements with employers
  • Disagreements with vendors
  • Fraud or coercion
  • Errors in contract
  • Violation of non-disclosure agreement
  • Issues with payment or delivery of goods
  • Contract product liability disputes
  • Insurance contract disputes
  • Shareholder lawsuits

What is Wisconsin Contract Law?

Wisconsin Contract law constitutes a set of laws, statutes, opinions, and guides regarding agreements between two or more individuals and entities within the state. Contract law in Wisconsin is incorporated into different aspects of the law, such as land or corporate law, depending on the sector where the agreement is made. Consequently, the state statutes governing contract formation, interpretation, and defense may vary depending on the specific situation and contract. However, the following are major chapters in the state statutes that make up contract law in Wisconsin:

What is a Breach of Contract in Wisconsin?

A breach of contract is a civil wrong. It occurs when parties in a binding agreement or contract refuse to honor their contractual obligations through non-performance, under-performance, or by interfering with the other’s performance. This claim is a legal cause for action in Wisconsin; however, the plaintiff initiating the litigation must be able to establish the claim. To achieve this, the individual must prove that: 

  • A valid and enforceable contract exists and was agreed upon.
  • The defendant failed to perform the tasks and duties specified in the contract.
  • There were resultant damages to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s actions.

In Wisconsin, a valid or enforceable contract could be written or oral. Regardless of the form the contract is in, it must include an offer to provide goods or services in return for something else of value. It must also include an acceptance or agreement to the terms of the contract and consideration, proving that all the parties involved had something to gain from the agreement. This agreement must be signed or entered into before the exchange happens.

A breach of contract claim must show that a party experienced loss in some way. That is, it must prove that the breach resulted in alteration of the purpose of the contract or reduced the value of the contract. In Wisconsin, these issues can be resolved with a lawsuit, arbitration, or mediation. While mediations and arbitrations are less expensive and faster, lawsuits require a plaintiff (the non-breaching or affected party) to file a case, and the other party, the defense, is required to answer. They will present their case before a judge with evidence. The court will then decide if there was a breach and what the remedies for the damages caused should be.

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

Wisconsin law gives non-breaching parties in a breach of contract litigation the opportunity to receive remedies for any damages caused by the breaching party’s actions. In a breach of contract case, plaintiffs may be able to be able to seek remedies such as:

  • Liquidated Damages

This is a straight forward provision. In this case, the court could order liquidated damages as a remedy if the initial contract already provided a clause that set remedies in case of a breach. That is, the court enforces the original terms of the contract that provided compensation in case of breach.

  • Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to the non-breaching party to restore the individual or entity to their position before the other party committed the breach and refused to fulfill their contractual obligations. 

  • Specific Performance

In this type of remedy, the court orders the breaching party to adhere to the contract’s original terms and conditions by fulfilling their obligations as earlier agreed.

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

Individuals or entities accused of breaching a contract can legally defend their actions using affirmative defenses. These defenses acknowledge that the breach occurred, but the defendants were unable to fulfill their contractual obligations due to these circumstances. These defenses may include:

  • Fraud – The defendant can argue that before signing the breached contract, the other party misrepresented facts and failed to disclose important information 
  • Duress – Here, the defendant claims to be compelled or forced to sign the contract against their free will.
  • Illegality – A contract will be voided in a court and the defendant free of all obligations attached to it if they can prove that fulfilling the contractual obligations would have made them take illegal actions against state or municipal law. The defense may also argue that the plaintiff should not receive relief because the individual took unethical and illegal actions when fulfilling their contractual responsibilities.
  • Unconscionability – If a contract is unfair and offends justice, the contract will be void.
  • Misunderstanding – This constitutes claiming that the parties in the contract or agreement interpreted the contract’s terms and conditions differently.
  • Impossibility – The defendant may argue that the obligations could not be fulfilled due to circumstances that made it impossible to do so.

What are Property Disputes in Wisconsin?

Property disputes in Wisconsin are associated with all kinds of residential and commercial real estate litigation matters. These disputes are usually between individuals or entities such as landlords, tenants, homeowner associations, estate agents, home developers, real estate buyers, sellers, lenders, etc. Property disputes occur when people disagree about certain features of a particular property. For instance, they may disagree on the property ownership, the property’s use, or the property’s legal boundary lines, to mention a few.

 Properties are valuable resources to owners as they carry a wide variety of benefits. As a result, property litigation issues or disputes are a cause for concern. Chapter 90 and Chapter 26 of the Wisconsin revised statutes address property line and fence disputes in the state.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in Wisconsin?

Common types of property disputes in Wisconsin include the following:

  • Homeownership disputes,
  • Boundary and fence disputes
  • Deed disputes
  • Tree trimming and damage disputes
  • Disputes of commercial and residential lease 
  • Construction disputes and liens
  • Land use disputes
  • Zoning disputes
  • Sales agreement disputes
  • Tax of real property disputes
  • Landlord and tenant disputes
  • Trespassing
  • Unlawful occupation

How to Find Property Lines

Property lines or boundary lines define the points where a property starts and ends. They also define where the neighboring lands start. They are usually represented on property deeds and surveys given to the homeowner after purchasing the house. The deeds explicitly describe the property’s measurements and boundaries. These details will assist a property owner in measuring the boundaries that define the property lines physically.

Property owners who do not have the property survey or deed could hire a professional surveyor to measure the property boundaries and map them out. This means of determining property lines may be an expensive one, depending on the property size, terrain, and value.

Finally, the property owner could check with the local assessor’s office for details about the property. Some counties and cities in Wisconsin have the required information available online such as Milwaukee, while some county assessor offices have to be visited in person. The assessor’s office usually has mapping tools that identify the properties in the vicinity with clear dimensions of the property lines.

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

The Wisconsin State Law Library provides a comprehensive list of organizations that provide legal assistance, representation, mediation, and arbitration services to the state’s citizens and residents. When an individual is in a property dispute or real estate litigation, it is advisable to hire a real estate litigation lawyer familiar with the laws and can provide a variety of options to reach a favorable resolution or settlement. This lawyer will protect the individual’s rights and interests and advocate on their behalf before the court.

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