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socrateaser, Lawyer
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I was set up on a payment plan with a bookkeeper for say $1000

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I was set up on a payment plan with a bookkeeper for say $1000 a month for them to perform my bookkeeping services with the tab accumulating if the services came to more than $1000/month at their hourly rate and to be paid off in $1000 installments.

But then the bookkeeper came to the conclusion that my tab was getting to large and demanded the next month's worth of payment upfront and the prior balance I had outstanding due immediately in 24 hours (and that's not an exaggeration).

I declined to pay more than the $1000/month until we renegotiated another contract.

Long story short he immediately stop working for me and left me in a real bind with a lot of the bookkeeping half finished.

the contract was completely silent on if my bill got to large except for saying all outstanding balances will accrue interest at say 10% interest.

I feel that they violated some ILCS, but can you please tell me what ILCS was violated when someone violates the payment terms of the contract in this manner? He also did not complete a lot of the work that he started, and I would need to pay someone else to redo all of his work. I want to know what is the best ILCS to purse a malpractice claim against this person?

The principles of contract law are judicially created and maintained. Contract law doctrine is not part of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS).

Where a contract term or condition is ambiguous, the court attempts to give effect to the intent of the parties. See, Hensley Const., LLC v. Pulte Home Corp., 399 Ill.App.3d 184 (2010). If that intent cannot be ascertained, then the contract is interpreted against the person who drafts the contract terms and conditions under consideration. Orr Const. Co. v. State of Ill., Dept. of Public Works and Bldgs., 30 Ill.Ct.Cl. 266 (1975).

Were I the judge considering your case, I would attempt to ascertain what the bookkeeper's hourly rate is; then I would examine the contract to see if under ordinary circumstances, the bookkeeper would expect to be paid immediately upon the completion of any work, if the bookkeeper were working on an hourly rate. Most independent contractors bill for the services after services are rendered, unless the require an advance against fees.

Assuming that the facts above showed that had you originally contract to pay the bookkeeper by the hour, and you would have been sent a bill after services were rendered, then I would find a demand for immediate payment unreasonable and a breach of the implied covenant of good faith -- and you would be the prevailing party.

If the bookkeeper would ordinarily have been paid immediately after work was concluded (or within 48 hours), then I would find that you had breached the implied covenant and the bookkeeper would prevail.

The only way that you will resolve this dispute, is to either mediate, arbitrate or litigate. It's really that simple. Unfortunately, I can no more here than to tell you how I believe a court or arbitrator would attempt to determine the winner.

Perhaps if you present this analysis to the bookkeeper, you can reach a negotiated settlement, before all of your respective money goes to legal expenses.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry for the late reply.


But can you tell me more about "The principles of contract law are judicially created and maintained. Contract law doctrine is not part of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS)" I don't understand what that means.


Is there a reference where I can learn more about the principles of contract law that a judge would use to base his decisions and hold the disputable parties accountable to?


I realize I can get a textbook on contract law. But I thought there would be something of a "statutes of contract law" on the matter so to speak as there are with other laws.


You have already earned a decent tip a good response just adds to it ;-)

The two citations to case law opinions that I previously provided, directly resolve the law concerning your question. However, the opinions certainly do not provide an overview of contract law principles. And, while I am of the general opinion that substantially everything written about the law, which is available at no cost, on the internet (other than that which is provided by a government website, or which directly quotes a judicial case law opinion entirely and verbatim), is woefully inadequate (and frequently outright rubbish) -- this outline of contract law from Lexisnexis® (one of the largest and most reputable proprietary subscription legal databases in existence) is pretty good (ed. op.).

Hope this helps.

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