Legal Memorandum: Determining the Duration of Contract in CO

Issue: Under Colorado law, how will a court construe the duration of a contract, in the absence of a certain date?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts
Keywords: Duration of a contract; Absence of a certain date
Jurisdiction: Colorado
Cited Cases: 650 P.2d 1315; 499 P.2d 1285; 607 A.2d 533; 987 F.2d 580; 649 A.2d 1145; 784 P.2d 320; 70 S.E. 296; 959 F. Supp. 748; 447 S.E.2d 199; 608 P.2d 890; 662 N.Y.S.2d 498; 153 P.2d 998; 840 F. Supp. 1433; 83 F.3d 704; 158 Colo. 297; 799 P.2d 371; 914 P.2d 909; 883 P.2d 500; 852 F. Supp. 1486; 554 P.2d 948; 849 F. Supp. 1412; 406 P.2d 333
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2001

Generally, when examining the meaning and application of a contract, courts review the document as a whole, rather than isolating language or clauses and reviewing them separately.  Kuta v. Joint Dist. No. 50(J), 799 P.2d 379, 382 (Colo. 1990).  See also Holland v. Board of County Comm’rs, 883 P.2d 500, 505 (Colo. Ct. App. 1994) (“In order to determine the intent of a contract, it must be construed as a whole and effect must be given to every provision, if possible.”); Engineered Data Prods., Inc. v. Nova Office Furniture, Inc., 849 F. Supp. 1412, 1417 (D. Colo. 1994) (“All of the provisions of a contract must be considered together to determine, if possible, the meaning intended by the parties.”);  In re First Interstate Bank, 767 P.2d 792, 795 (Colo. Ct. App. 1988) (“Whenever possible, different provisions in a contract should be construed in a manner to harmonize and give effect to all of them.”).  With that in mind, a court will generally try to reach a conclusion that makes sense, as the “construction of a contract should be reasonable and not lead to an absurd result.”  Engineered Data Prods., 849 F. Supp. at 1417 (citation omitted).

If a contract’s terms are unambiguous, the interpretation of its terms is not a job for a trier of fact, but is a matter of law.   United States Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Budget Rent-A-Car Sys., Inc., 842 P.2d 208, 211 (Colo. 1992); Holland v. […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)