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Contract dispute between Michigan government and contractor ends

A contract in Michigan is an agreement between two or more parties to do something. There are various types of contracts, but at the end of the day, all contracts follow simple contract law principles. These principles include offer, acceptance, consideration and mutual assent. These are all legal terms and most laypeople do not refer to contracts in these terms, although all contracts require them to be present. A contractual relationship is built on this foundation and if all of the elements of a contract are not met, then the contract may be void or voidable depending on the surrounding circumstances.

Contract disputes happen all of the time. Usually, the dispute is over services not being delivered per the contract or services have not been paid for in a timely fashion. In a contract involving Marquette County and a contractor for wastewater management services, the County decided to sever its contract with the company because the company took too long to complete the work it was contracted to complete. This resulted in a dispute because the contractor of course wanted to be paid for the work. In the particular case, the parties were able to reach a monetary agreement.

Although an agreement was reached in the abovementioned case, vendor contracts are normally not so nice and neat. Litigation in contractual disputes have the propensity to go on for a long time. When the courts get involved in a contract matter, it is because one party has sued for breach of contract. In this case, a breach occurs where one party has not lived up to its end of the bargain. In such proceedings, the courts will look at the responsibilities of each party under the contract. Where there is a discrepancy, the courts will rule accordingly.

Even though contract law is pretty clear cut, understanding and knowing one's rights and responsibilities is vitally important. Asking for help is a good first start to understanding those rights and responsibilities.

Source: ABC 10, "Marquette County to settle dispute with wastewater treatment contractor," Molly Smerika, Dec. 29, 2014

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