When a contract dispute arises, there may be differing interpretations of the contract terms. A court asked to construe the disputed terms will look to statutory principles. But don’t wait for a dispute to learn these principles—be aware of them when drafting an agreement to ensure that they won’t counteract your client’s intent.
The key to keeping contracts out of the courtroom is drafting them well and making sure that they accurately capture the parties’ intent. In Part 1 of this post, we discussed five common contract drafting mistakes and how to avoid them. Here are five more.
In a recent Florida case, the plaintiff lost $80,000 of settlement proceeds he had received on his employment discrimination claim after his daughter spilled the beans on Facebook. Breaching the confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement—and getting caught at it—is frighteningly easy in the age of social media.
Law firms are getting more aggressive about suing clients for unpaid legal bills. As the New York Law Journal says, what used to be “unseemly” may become routine. But bringing a breach of contract action against a client for unpaid fees is a very tricky business: first, you have to get out of the attorney-client relationship, and then you have to invoke your (hopefully) enforceable fee agreement.
Question: You file a breach of contract suit and begin negotiating with the defendant. You agree on a settlement, but the defendant dies before actually signing the settlement agreement. The defendant’s beneficiaries won’t be opening a probate, because there is less than $100k in assets. Under California law, what do you do?
Breach of contract actions are all about recovering money to put the aggrieved party in the same position that it would have been in had the other party fully performed. That’s the goal of filmmaker Michael Moore’s suit against the Weinstein brothers for breach of their Fahrenheit 9/11 contract. And, just a Moore’s attorneys will have to do, when you file a complaint alleging breach of contract, you need to carefully analyze and have proof of your client’s recoverable damages.