Contracts are the foundation of solid business relationships.
There are few areas in our professional and personal lives that are not bound by contracts, from buying a car to insuring your home to entering into an employment arrangement. At Drake Law we help clients in Tampa and the surrounding region protect their financial interests in cases involving a variety of contract disputes.
Make no mistake, the language in these legal documents can dictate the terms of your business relationships. Don’t leave your financial future up to the interpretation of others. If one party isn’t abiding by the agreed upon terms, it’s time to get legal help.
Common Types of Contract Disputes We Handle
Legal disputes are a fact of life in today’s business and regulatory environment. Partners may disagree about financial rights and obligations or how to invest income. Contract disputes can involve outside parties, such as vendors, customers or employees. Drake Law partners with you to learn the particulars of your business and provide you with a tailored legal strategy. We can negotiate with the other party to informally settle the matter. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached amicably, Drake has the depth of experience to represent you effectively in the courtroom. We are also committed to helping you prevent litigation and business disputes from arising in the future, and can advise you on drafting and negotiating agreements.
Real Estate Disputes
Real estate transactions and complex and can be fraught with disputes. Typical disputes arise from the failure of buyers to obtain financing, the seller misrepresenting their property, title and escrow issues, inspection-related conflicts, and failing to meet other contingencies. An experienced attorney can help resolve your dispute through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation if needed.
The use of employment contracts has been on the rise in recent years. 39% of all private-sector workplaces in Florida require employees to sign noncompete agreements, according to national surveys. These contracts typically state that you will not work for a competitor while an employee with the business that you work for. It’s important to understand how these contracts work, and how they are enforced. If you have questions, or feel the noncompete agreement you signed limits your ability to pursue your livelihood, consult with an experienced lawyer to understand your legal options.
Construction contracts are complicated and can involve multiple subcontracts as well. This creates the opportunity for disputes to arise. Common disputes include:
- Differing construction site conditions
- Failing to perform all required obligations
- Changes in the construction timeline and unreasonable delays
- Using lesser-quality materials than agreed upon
- Failing to compensate for work performed
While many construction contracts include a clause stating that disputes be resolved through mediation or arbitration instead of litigation, it is still wise to have an attorney review your contract as soon as a serious dispute arises. An experienced lawyer can represent you during mediation sessions, or file a lawsuit if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, oral contracts are valid. There’s no requirement that a contract be in writing for it to be legally valid. A legally binding contract, be it verbal or written, only has three requirements: that there is an offer, an acceptance of the offer, and “consideration”, the legal term that means both parties give something up, like money or time.
The fact that handshake contracts aren’t put down in writing makes them tricky. If there is a dispute over what the contract included and what it entailed, there is no written document to look at to settle the disagreement. Instead, the terms of the deal have to be figured out by the testimony of the parties bound by it, any witnesses to the agreement, and details of how both parties conducted themselves before and after the deal was struck.
Unfortunately, because most verbal contracts are made by people who trust one another, the disagreements that tend to follow allegedly breached oral contracts tend to be more emotional ordeals because they often involve a falling out. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to enforce an oral agreement. With the help of experienced legal counsel, you can prove the terms of the agreement and show that the contract was breached.
There are several situations when a contract can be considered unenforceable, including:
- Duress: a party was forced into the agreement against their will.
- Violation of Public Policy: Contracts cannot violate federal/state laws nor can be do they used to enforce immoral actions. Examples include prostitution, prohibition of unions or child labor.
- Nondisclosure: If a party misrepresents the agreement to the other parties, it may not be recognized as bidding.
- Impossibility: Events outside of all parties control may result in the agreement becoming void or too expensive. Such events may include natural disasters such as hurricanes.
- Illegal Purpose: The contract is for a illegal purpose
- Lack of Capacity: The party in the contract is not of legal age to enter into a contract
The two basic types of remedies for a breach of contract are monetary damages and equitable remedies. If a contract is breached and the plaintiff is successful in the contract dispute lawsuit, the plaintiff can recover monetary damages and equitable relief. Monetary damages can take the form of:
- compensatory damages
- liquidation damages
- punitive damages
- nominal damages
Equitable remedies are typically awarded when monetary damages is not the proper remedy. They involve the court ordering the parties to act or to refrain from acting. Types of equitable remedies include:
- specific performance – requiring an action on the part of the breaching party
- contract rescission – canceling the contract
- contract reformation
Whether you are making plans to enter into a contract or are already dealing with a dispute, it’s essential to work with a Tampa contract lawyer every step of the way. An experienced contracts attorney can help you draft a suitable agreement and prepare your arguments in the event that a breach occurs. Contracts are powerful tools that create binding legal obligations, and a lawyer can help you understand what your rights are under contract laws.
Drake Law Is In Your Corner
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