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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in North Carolina

A contract in North Carolina is an agreement between parties to perform specified obligations or transactions. Disputes arise when a party fails to perform contractual obligations or does not perform contractual obligations to the extent specified in the agreement. Various courts of the North Carolina judiciary hear and adjudicate cases of contract and property disputes. Court records of the filings, motions, orders, and final judgment are available to interested members of the public at the office of the clerk.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching for records simpler, as geographic locations do not limit their activities. Thus, the search engines on third-party sites may help when starting a search for 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 persons involved in the case. These include information such as the city, county, or state of residence or accusation.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not government-sponsored. Consequently, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are Contract Disputes in North Carolina?

Contract disputes are disagreements that arise out of differing opinions or interpretations of contract terms and conditions. In most cases, the parties that are privy to the contract fail to resolve the disputes without judicial intervention.

What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in North Carolina?

Several agreements are termed and recognized as contracts under North Carolina laws. Nevertheless, the following examples embody the common contract disputes involving public and private entities in North Carolina:

  • Insurance contract disputes: These kinds of contract disputes are commonly due to clauses in insurance contracts. Here, the parties typically disagree on the interpretation and enforceability of the contract terms/conditions.
  • Real estate contract dispute: These kinds of contract disputes are common among residential and commercial property owners. The disagreements often involve tenancy rights, failure to close a real estate sale, warranty breach, loss due to negligence of proxy, and the right to retain the deposit in a failed transaction.
  • Prenuptial agreement dispute: A prenuptial agreement is colloquially known as a “prenup” and details the division of financial assets in the event of a divorce. Here, the common disputes often arise from the fairness of the agreement or the enforceability of the agreement during a divorce proceeding.
  • Employment contract dispute: Several disputes may arise out of an employment contract. Two of the most common contract disputes involve non-compete and non-disclosure clauses in an employment contract. A less common employment contract dispute involves the right to ownership of a property created while in the services of an employer.
  • Construction contract dispute: Many construction contract disputes involve government agencies and private companies contracted for renovations or building structures such as a public park. These kinds of contract disputes arise when a contractor fails to accomplish the objectives in the pre-established timeline or seeks more funds beyond the initial budget.
  • Separation agreement dispute: Unlike the prenuptial agreement dispute, this kind of contract dispute typically arises when one or both parties fail to fulfill contractual obligations per the settlement agreement entered during a divorce.

Some other notable inclusions are tortious interference, where a party interferes with the other party’s ability to fulfill contractual obligations, as well as warrantee disputes.  

What is North Carolina Contract Law?

The North Carolina Contract Law is a body of statutes, and rules of common law, that make provisions for the enforcement and resolution of contracts in North Carolina. Some of these statutes include the Uniform Commercial Code (chapter 25), the Landlord and Tenant Code (chapter 42), the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (chapter 52B), and the Insurance Code (chapter 58). Other laws governing contracts are found throughout the North Carolina General Statutes.

What is a Breach of Contract in North Carolina?

A breach of contract is a violation of the terms of a legal agreement, i.e. when one or more parties default on their contractual obligations.

What are the Remedies for a Breach of Contract in North Carolina?

Generally, before adjudicating a breach of contract claim, the court will encourage the parties to participate in mediation or arbitration. If such external intervention fails, the trial court then examines the case to issue a remedy for the breach of contract. Per the state laws, the remedies for a breach of contract include:

  • Damages: The court awards damages to the aggrieved party to cover the losses incurred due to the breach. Bear in mind that damages are compensatory, not punitive.  
  • Specific Performance: A court order of specific performance compels the defendant to fulfill their contractual obligations. This remedy is not available in all claims; the court orders specific performance when no other remedy is adequate.
  • Rescission: A rescission is an equitable remedy that restores the parties as far as is possible to their original position before the contract. Here, the parties must restore profits and benefits gotten from the execution of the contract thus far.

To initiate a claim, the petitioner must submit a complaint at the office of the clerk in the appropriate trial court or small claims court. The complaint and filings must describe the validity of the contract and the extent of fulfillment of obligations by both parties. Also, the court requires the plaintiff to highlight evidence of breach of contract and show that the other party is aware of the breach. Likewise, a claim must show evidence and estimation of sustained loss due to the breach.

Meanwhile, North Carolina has a statute of limitation on bringing up contract disputes. Per Section § 1–52, the statute of limitation for contract disputes is three (3) years, except provided for by statutes in Article 5. Furthermore, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to establish a breach of contract, while the defendant must prove that no such breach occurred under the terms of the contract. Both parties must support claims with affidavits, disposition testimony, witness testimony, attestations, and other applicable evidence.

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

The following legal arguments nullify a claim of breach of contract in North Carolina:

  • Frustration of purpose
  • Duress
  • Abandonment
  • A material mistake of fact
  • Unfair and deceptive trade practice
  • Negligence
  • Fraud
  • Unconscionability
  • Incompetency of minor
  • Illegality & incapacity
  • Governmental immunity

What are Property Disputes in North Carolina?

A property dispute in North Carolina refers to disagreements involving any entity of value that is subject to ownership. A property may be tangible, such as real estate and personal property, or intangible, as in investment, and stock.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in North Carolina?

Some of the commonly reported property disputes in North Carolina involve:

  • Real estate fraud
  • Landlord-tenant dispute
  • Intellectual property dispute
  • Water rights dispute
  • Railroad property dispute
  • Easement dispute
  • Boundary dispute

How to Find Property Lines

Property lines or boundary lines are clearly defined points that show land limits or boundaries as established via a real estate survey. The lines show where a piece of land ends and where the adjoining lands begin. Information on property lines is available at the office of the County Assessor. The judiciary provides a list of the contact information of County Assessors in the state.

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

The Judicial Branch provides resources to find various attorneys in North Carolina on this webpage.

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