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South Dakota Court Records

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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in South Dakota

Contract disputes typically occur when any parties act contrary to any written or oral agreement binding by the law. It may arise due to conflicting interests or poor communication, which leads to different interpretations and misunderstandings of the contractual terms. Property disputes are conflicts that involve real properties. It encompasses disagreement over; the ownership, rentals, vacant lot, parking lot, building or rebuilding, fixtures and fittings, and many issues that arise from the buying, renting, leasing, or giving out of real property. The judicial system in South Dakota is such that the various levels of court have jurisdiction over civil matters to the extent permitted by the law. Small claim disputes may be settled in the Magistrate and Circuit Courts. Cases involving bigger claims may be settled in the Supreme Court who has the final say in all contract and property disputes in the State. Whereas, contract or property dispute cases that question a federal character or a federal law may be settled in the District Court.

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 South Dakota?

In South Dakota, contract disputes are the different issues responsible for the inability of any of the parties involved in a contractual agreement to act as agreed upon contract. Such agreement may be expressed or implied, or, written or oral. When the parties involved do not take the laws as stated in S. D. Codified Laws §53 into consideration before entering a contract, then a dispute is bound to arise.

What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in South Dakota

The most common contract disputes in South Dakota are;

  • Business Contract Dispute; A business contract dispute may arise when there is no clarity in the offer regarding when to perform the promise, the duty, or provide the service. A dispute may also arise when there are no terms and conditions attached to the agreement. Some business contract where disputes can occur are;
  • Employment contract
  • Sales/ purchase contract
  • Shareholder contract
  • Insurance Contract Dispute; A typical insurance dispute occurs when the insurer tries to breach a contract agreement by acting contrary to the insuring agreement. In other cases, both parties are guilty of a breach of contract.
  • Partnership Contract Dispute; Partnership contract may occur when there is no clarity in the agreement. When the terms of an agreement are made ambiguous or poorly communicated, it inevitably brings about different interpretations. There may be disagreement in the following areas;
  • Sharing formula of ownership
  • Sharing of profits and losses
  • Powers and duties of each partner
  • Termination of partnership
  • Purchase of partnership
  • Duration of partnership and how it can be renewed
  • Real Estate Contract Dispute; Disputes that arise in real estate contracts are mostly driven by the conflicting interest among the parties involved in the contract. Some types of real estate contract where a dispute may occur are;
  • Purchase Agreement
  • Lease Agreement
  • Real Estate Assignment
  • Power of Attorney
  • Construction Contract Dispute; This dispute typically occurs when there is a disagreement between the building owner and the builder contracted for the job. Construction disputes can come in the form of builders refusing to perform the duty as promised, or laborers abandoning the site or delaying performance, Etc.
  • Intellectual Property licensing Dispute; A common licensing of intellectual property disputes arise from the manner of usage of the property which may be contrary to the agreement.
  • Family Contract Dispute; The primary source of a family contract dispute is divorce which brings about dispute in;
  • Child custody
  • Prenuptial agreement
  • Ownership of properties

What is South Dakota Contract Law?

South Dakota contract laws are the State’s statutory codes established to regulate and legalize agreements between two or more parties. S. D. Codified Law. § 53 defines a contract in a way that expresses the legality of both expressed or implied, and written or oral contract. The essential elements of a contract based on the contract law are;

  • The parties: S. D. Codified L. §53–2 expressly states that a person involved in a contract must be;
  • An adult
  • A person with civil rights
  • A person who has a sound mind
  • An identifiable person
  • The content: As stated in S. D. Codified L. §53–3, consent must be free, mutual, and communicated to each other. The Law also stated that once a person accepts the benefits of a transaction willingly, such a person has consented to the obligation that arises from the transaction. Therefore, any consent that is obtained through fraud, under duress, through undue influence, or by mistake is considered void as stated in S. D. Codified L. §53–4.
  • A lawful object: A lawful object implies that the thing that is agreed upon in a contract agreement must be lawful. If the object is unlawful, then the contract is void, or if the contract contains several objects such that some are lawful and others unlawful, the unlawful part is considered void. S. D.Codified L. §53–5
  • A consideration or sufficient cause: A consideration as defined in S. D. Codified L. §53–6 implies the gain or loss, or the contractual agreement’s obligation. A consideration makes a contract lawful when;
  • There is written evidence of the consideration
  • There is a certain consideration
  • The consideration is lawful
  • There is a measure of the consideration

What is a Breach of Contract in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, a breach occurs when all the contract elements are present in an expressed, implied, written, or oral agreement. However, the defaulter willfully chooses not to act as obligated by the contractual agreement. The penalties for a breach of contract in the State largely depend on the nature and the severity of damages caused by the contract’s breach.

What are the Remedies for a Breach of Contract in South Dakota?

Remedies for a breach of contract are the damages or compensation that must be paid by the person who has willfully acted against the agreement as stated in a contract. A remedy can either be in monetary terms or terms of equity.

Monetary remedies can be damages borne by the defaulter in any of the following ways;

  • Compensatory damages; where the court compels the defaulter to pay the other party any amount that fulfills the promise, whether or not the amount is more than the original amount that could have fulfilled the promise.
  • Restitution; the court orders the defaulter to pay back the exact amount paid for the promise’s fulfillment.
  • Punitive damages, where the court orders the defaulter to pay an amount to punish the defaulting party.
  • Quantum Meruit; where the court orders the defaulter to pay what the other party deserves based on the court’s decision.

Equity remedy is also called an ‘injunctive relief, and it can be in;

  • Cancellation; where the court cancels the contract and declares that none of the parties is bound by it.
  • Specific Performance; where the court compels the defaulting party to perform the service, duty, or fulfill the promise as stated in the contract.

To file a breach of contract petition,an applicant will obtain the petition form at the office of the clerks of court of the appropriate court for the case. The applicant must not be less than eighteen years of age and must submit along with the form a copy of an insurance certificate. The registrar will request for any information or certificate as it applies to the petition being filed. While filing a petition, the applicant must bear the statute of limitation in mind. The standard statute of limitation in South Dakota runs for six years, yet, it varies from one charge to another. For instance, injury to a person is three years while slander or libel is two years.

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

The following are the defenses that can be used against a breach of contract claim in South Dakota;

  • Fraudulent intents; The defendant can claim an Actual fraud or Constructive fraud, both of which render the contract void.
  • Bilateral or unilateral mistake; A defendant can claim that either of the parties or both parties in a contract made a mistake of fact or a mistake of law, or a mistake in the provisions of the contract.
  • Undue Influence or Duress; S. D. Codified L. §53–4–3 defines duress and nullifies any contract made under the conditions stated by the law. More so, entering an agreement with a person in a situation considered as Undue influence is void by law.
  • Illegal objects of a contract; The performance impossibility of a contract renders it illegal as stated in S. D. Codified L. §53–5–3. Also, a defendant can claim that some parts of the contract were unlawful.
  • Consideration not defined; A defendant can claim that the consideration is impossible to ascertain, which renders the contract void.
  • The Intentional destruction of the written agreement; Once a defendant can prove that the contract is void because of the intentional destruction of the written agreement by the claimant as stated S. D. Codified L. §53–11–7.
  • Force Majeure; A defendant can claim that the breach occurred due to unforeseen circumstances. Force majeure means the act of God. Natural disasters like floods, blizzards may hinder a party from fulfilling obligation as stated in the contract.
  • Misrepresentation

What are Property Disputes in South Dakota?

In the State of Dakota, a property dispute is a legal disagreement over the ownership, control, usage, maintenance, or disposal of properties; whether real or nominal, movable or immovable. Property dispute is a wide range of disputes that can be in the form of a disagreement over; the ownership of intellectual property, the right to lease a property that was inherited, the right to plant a tree that causes any obstruction, the repair of a damaged rented apartment, Etc. South Dakota’s Property Law makes provision for matters regarding the ownership, rentals, transfer, and usage of all kinds of properties in such a way that resolves property disputes.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in South Dakota?

There are different types of property disputes in the state. Some of them are

  • Ownership; ownership dispute brings into question whether the property’s ownership is absolute or qualified. It brings in view the rights of an absolute owner or a qualified owner of a property
  • Boundary dispute; boundary dispute is a popular property dispute. It brings into question the end of one person’s land and the beginning of the other. A dispute may also arise in the property’s fencing in terms of liability of the building fence.
  • Tenancy; landlord-tenant dispute often occurs when there is disagreement about the repairs of the property, use of the property, or the eviction of a tenant from the property
  • Zoning; a zoning dispute questions the absolute property right. This is where the zoning law and a person’s absolute right to a property are in conflict
  • Easement: The legality of encroachment causes an easement dispute, especially in a situation where utility connections are passing through from one household to another.
  • Sales and purchase
  • Construction

How to Find Property Lines

Property lines define the end of one person’s real estate and the beginning of another. Property lines are created to avoid a dispute that comes from land encroachment and ownership disputes. The lines determine to a large extent where and how a structure is constructed on the land. A new landlord needs to find the property lines, which can be found in the deed of ownership or the survey. To find a property line in South Dakota, a new landlord can look through the directory to contact the County’s director of equalization. Alternatively, the landlord can check with the state’s Director of Equalization.

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

The South Dakota Bar Association can help find the best legal representative through the page’s legal match section. An interested person can choose the exact case for which a lawyer is needed and the most convenient location to find the lawyer.

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