Articles Posted in Civil & Commercial Litigation

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By Joseph G. Ballstaedt

In Idaho, an accord and satisfaction is a method of resolving a disputed claim between two parties. See Idaho Code § 28-3-310. Here’s a simple example of how it works. Let’s say a painter agrees to paint a homeowner’s living room for $500. After finishing the work, the painter sends the homeowner a bill for $500. The homeowner responds with a letter stating he doesn’t owe anything because the paint job is terrible and he had to hire a second painter to come in and do it right. In reply, the painter threatens to sue the homeowner if he doesn’t get full payment.

Let’s suppose that the homeowner is stressed about the dispute and the possibility of being sued, so he sends the painter a check for $250 with large, red print on face of the check stating, “Payment in full for painting my living room!” The painter receives the check, decides that $250 is better than trying for $500 in court, so he cashes the check. When he does so, the matter is legally resolved. The parties have performed an accord and satisfaction.

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By Joseph G. Ballstaedt

Before hiring an attorney to file or defend a breach of contract lawsuit in Idaho, you should consider attorney fees, especially if the contract is relatively small. Although each case is different, the losing party generally has to pay attorney fees in a breach of contract claim. Many contracts specifically state that if a party breaks the contract, he or she has to pay the other party’s attorney fees and costs in any legal suit to enforce the contract.

Moreover, even if the contract is silent on attorney fees or the contract was oral, Idaho law explains that the losing party has to pay the winning party’s fees in many contract disputes: “In any civil action to recover on . . . [a] contract relating to the purchase or sale of goods . . . or services . . . , the prevailing party shall be allowed a reasonable attorney’s fee to be set by the court, to be taxed and collected as costs.” Idaho Code § 12-120(3).