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Breach of contract in Indiana is the same as in most other states because most breach of contract cases are based upon the old English common law, rather than specific state statutes, which tend to vary by state.  There are some exceptions to this general rule.

Many people ask, what is considered breach of contract in Indiana?  Breach of contract in Indiana is the same as in most other states because most breach of contract cases are based upon the old English common law, rather than specific state statutes, which tend to vary by state.  There are some exceptions to this general rule.  For example, contract law as between two merchants dealing in the sale of goods is controlled by Indiana’s Commercial Code.  Most states, like Indiana, have enacted their own version of the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.).   Indiana’s Commercial Code does not apply to the typical lawsuit between non-merchants or a merchant and a consumer, however.  This article addresses a lawsuit between non-merchants filing for breach of contract in Indiana.  

Is breach of contract illegal?

No.  Breach of contract is a civil action, like a lawsuit for personal injuries would be.  The breach, in and of itself, is not illegal, although the act amounting to the breach might independently be actionable as a violation of some criminal law.  

How serious is breach of contract in Indiana?

Courts generally view a contract dispute as a broken promise or a dispute that needs to be resolved.  More often than not, contracts are breached for reasons beyond a party’s control or there is a legitimate question as to whether the contract was breached at all or by whom.  In a typical breach of contract case the court simply takes a look at the terms of the contract, decides who may have violated its terms and what amount of money will give the non-breaching party the benefit that it bargained for under the contract.

What are the grounds for breach of contract in Indiana?  

One must have a valid contract in force that was breached, resulting in damages in order to sue for breach of contract.  The grounds for alleging breach can vary from breach of an express warranty found in the contract to outright refusal to pay for goods or services upon delivery.  Some warranties are implied in contracts between merchants pursuant to Indiana’s Commercial Code.  When the contract is not between merchants, many courts have refused to imply warranties.  Whatever the case, some grounds for breach of warranty, if the warranty is expressly a part of the contract or implied by law are:

  • Warranty of title—this is an assurance that the seller owns the property that he or she is selling.
  • Warranty of merchantability—this is an assurance that the goods or property conform to a reasonable buyer’s expectations.
  • Warranty of fitness for a particular purpose—this is an assurance that the goods or property is fit for the use that it is intended for.
  • Warranty of habitability—this is an assurance that a home or residential unit is fit for human habitation.
  • Express Warranty—this is a promise or representation made a part of the contract because it is an essential part of the basis of the bargain.

What elements must a breach of contract claim in Indiana?

Breach of contract requires a valid contract, breach of the contract and damages.  This seems very simple and straightforward, and it is, but there are issues within each of these three elements that can become problematic.  For example, a contract requires an 1) offer, 2) acceptance, 3) consideration and 4) capacity.  If your transaction is missing in one of these areas, you may not have a valid contract and your claim will fail.  For example, if you contract with an individual that you believe to be lucid only to find that the individual is actually suffering from documented dementia, you may not have a valid contract.  The breach and damages elements can also be problematic.  For example, you may have entered into a service contract with an auto garage that holds onto your car for two weeks, instead of the three days that they represented.  If it was not agreed that “time was of the essence” in your contract for repairs and you suffered only inconvenience and lost time arranging to get a lift from friends, you have a problem in both the breach and damages areas because a breach must be a “material breach” to the contract and damages in breach of contract are generally only compensatory or consequential (i.e. monetary damages directly resulting from the breach).

Who has the burden of proof in a breach of contract case?

The party filing the Complaint for breach of contract has the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence.  If the responding party files a counterclaim or affirmative defense(s), the respondent would have the burden of proving the allegations in the counterclaim or affirmative defense(s).  

How do you prove breach of contract?

The plaintiff must prove that a valid contract was entered into by the parties, what the terms of the contract were, that plaintiff performed all obligations plaintiff had under the contract, but that the responding party failed or refused to perform respondent’s obligations under the contract.  Plaintiff must then prove that the damages sought were proximately caused by respondent’s breach.  

How much can you sue for breach of contract in Indiana?

There is no limit on the amount that you can sue for in breach of contract in the state of Indiana.

Is it worth suing for breach of contract in Indiana?

Only the individual contemplating a lawsuit can weigh whether they can afford what it might take to prove their case.  This is why a person contemplating any litigation should contact an experienced litigator to discuss whether extensive discovery, depositions, expert witnesses, pretrial motions, and the like might be necessary and what the costs to you might be.

What is the statute of limitations on breach of contract in Indiana?

The statute of limitations for breach of oral or written professional services contracts is two (2) years.  The statute of limitations for breach of all other types of oral contracts is six (6) years.  The statute of limitations for breach of all other written contracts is ten (10) years.

Posted 
October 13, 2021
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