When you delegate a task to a specific person or party, you expect her or him to complete the work. If the party does not complete the agreed upon work within the set timeframe, or at all, you may be eligible for a breach of contract dispute.
In an ideal situation, business agreements would all be fulfilled in a manner that mutually benefits all parties. Unfortunately many disputes can arise in the course of doing business. Whether it is a financial issue, delay, miscommunication or some other hindrance, contracts can be broken. You should understand when an unfulfilled obligation classifies as a material breach.
Businesses depend on contracts to operate successfully. When one or more parties involved in the contract fail to meet the legal obligations, the contract is breached. Breaches can occur with vendor contracts, commercial contracts, joint venture agreements, employment contracts, supplier contracts and buy-sell contracts. Some breaches of these contracts warrant cancellation of the contract while others do not.
Non-competition agreements between employers and employees are common in business. For instance, non-compete agreements may put strict limitations on competition within the same geographic area or may restrict a former employee from using the company's client lists. Such agreements are designed to safeguard the company from competition through, for example, the sharing of trade secrets and confidential data by former employees and the loss of other assets that are valuable to the business. The theft by an employee of trade secrets of his or her former employer could form the basis for a legal claim of violation of the non-compete agreement. Some states enforce trade secret protection. California does so only if the business is able to prove that these trade secrets are, in fact, proprietary. However, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise over whether the non-compete agreement is legally binding and enforceable. Indeed, the scope and legal applicability of non-compete agreements has become an increasingly contentious issue in recent years.
One of the recurring issues that Buffington Law Firm's Orange County business litigation attorneys deal with concerns personal guarantees. This is a frequently misunderstood issue in breach of contract lawsuits and often exposes people to legal liability that they did not know that they had.
Buffington Law Firm's business trial attorneys have broad experience in achieving successful outcomes in cases involving unfair business practices and unfair competition. In California, unfair business practices is a specific term which nonetheless covers a broad spectrum of deceptive or unfair business practices.
Buffington Law Firm's business litigation team has handled numerous breach of contract lawsuits arising from the purchase and sale of small businesses. One of the most common scenarios for breach of contract and business litigation disputes derives from transactions involving the purchase and sale of a small business. Many Americans dream of financial independence through ownership of one's own small business. Buying a small business, perhaps through a business broker, often appears to be a quicker way of realizing this dream than starting one's own business from scratch. And indeed, it can be.
One of the most common questions that clients ask Buffington Law Firm's business litigation attorneys is whether they can recover their attorney fees if they prevail in their litigation. This is understandably an important issue in business litigation disputes.
Buffington Law Firm's business attorneys have taken many breach of contract lawsuits to court in which one of the key issues was the failure of the parties to document their deal or transaction in a written agreement. In last week's Blog article we discussed some of the pitfalls of failing to create a written contract that spells out the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. We mentioned that one of the pitfalls of not having a written contract is the Statute of Frauds. Essentially, the Statute of Frauds may render certain types of agreements unenforceable if there is no written agreement. The Statute of Frauds is codified at Cal. Civil Code Section 1624.
Buffington Law Firm's business trial attorneys have broad experience in handling many types of breach of contract and other business disputes. In Part 1 of this series we discussed the importance of ensuring that a business contract sets realistic goals for the parties, rather than "aspirational" goals which are realistic only in a perfect world. In this second installment, we discuss the increasingly common problem of business transactions for which the parties draft no contract at all. It may seem odd that a six or seven figure venture, agreement, or transaction would be carried out without a written contract. In the real world, it happens. Perhaps most often this sort of transaction occurs between family members who "trust one another." Other times the parties simply never get around to finalizing the contract in the midst of all of the activity getting the venture or transaction up and running. Just as "good fences make for good neighbors" a good contract that spells out the rights, duties, and the contributions of the parties can avoid disputes and keep the parties out of court. Few things are nastier than a business dispute between angry family members.