Handling Your Contract Dispute

Contract Dispute

If you are involved in a contract dispute with another party or business, you should seek the assistance of an attorney in resolving the dispute before the situation escalates.   Although signing a contract should mean that your rights are protected and are spelled out in black and white, contract law can prove to be a surprisingly complex and challenging field.  While resolution through mediation or arbitration is always preferred, if a party to a contract chooses to challenge the validity of the agreement or takes exception to a clause believed to be improper or not legally binding, litigation may be the only way to put an end to the disagreement.

Contract dispute is one of the most common reasons people initiate legal proceedings.  Whether the contract involves buying, selling, or leasing of real estate; or deals with business-related issues, including breaches of vendor/customer contracts, partnership disputes, business divorces, or violation of non-compete or confidentiality agreements, a poorly written contract is almost as bad (and sometimes worse) than not having a written agreement at all.   If you have a poorly written contract or do not even have a contract, if a dispute arises during the course of performance, you may be facing an uphill battle in proving what the parties intended when you entered into the agreement.   Worse yet, if you had a verbal understanding and agreement as to the underlying terms of the agreement, but the written contract you’ve signed doesn’t reflect your prior agreement, you may be without a proverbial leg to stand on.

Unfortunately, each year many see their businesses fall by the wayside or experience legal hassles because they’ve signed poorly written or ill-advised documentation.  Hiring an experienced lawyer to assist you in reviewing and negotiating these types of contracts can save you from a headache and stress these situations cause; as well as save you thousands in legal fees and costs down the road.  Even intelligent, well-educated, and savvy business owners can be tripped up by clauses that go unnoticed; which could ultimately lead to a contract dispute such as leaving them unable to legally nullify their contract, take charge of their business dealings, and/or escape costly consequences of such clauses.  Don’t leave yourself unprotected or potentially liable for future litigation, fines, and negative publicity that may destroy your business and your reputation.

Even if you’ve done everything by the book, you may still find yourself in the midst of a contract dispute that has a major impact on your business dealings.  When this occurs, you’re going to be in need of a helping hand.  In some cases, the other side will have already retained legal counsel and is prepared to take the case in front of a judge, often in hopes of having the agreement nullified.  In those situations, you would be incredibly unwise to attempt to deal with such a dispute without your own legal team.

When there’s a risk of you losing the business you’ve worked so hard to build; risk of losing your investment; or risk of losing large sums of money, you simply cannot afford to do it alone.   At the first sign of trouble, call the Scottsdale attorneys at The Peddy Berg Law Firm who have experience handling any kind of contract dispute and can successfully mediate issues before they escalate into full-fledged litigation.

WHAT IS A BANK SHORT SALE?

Since the onset of the global financial crisis, many homeowners found themselves unable to fulfill their mortgage obligations. Many homes were lost and people found themselves owing more on their home than the home was worth.  In lieu of facing foreclosure, some homeowners opted to sell their home and seek the release of the debt owed to the bank via a short sale. So, what is a bank short sale?

A short sale occurs when the bank agrees the home can be sold for less than the amount owed and agrees to release their lien even though they have not received full payment on the lien secured against the property.   Although technically not required, many banks will not consider a short sale until the mortgage holder is at least thirty (30) days late on their payments.  To be approved for a short sale, most borrowers will be required to show proof of a “hardship,” typically a financial hardship.  Lenders will not consider a short sale if a borrower’s financial hardship has not recently occurred or is not one of several enumerated hardships (including medical issues/bills, job loss, a decrease in earnings, etc.).  Financial irresponsibility or the fact that the home is not worth what the borrower owes is not a sufficient “hardship” to warrant or qualify a borrower for a short sale.  Additionally, in some cases, a lender may feel foreclosure will gain more monetary proceeds than a short sale, especially if the mortgage is secured by mortgage insurance (or “PMI”).

Because a short sale involves selling the home for less than the amount owed, there will be a deficiency between the amount owed on the loan and the amount received through the sale of the property.   In some instances, the lender may seek repayment of this deficiency from the borrower, or even if they do not immediately seek reimbursement, they may indicate on your credit report that the obligation still exists, thus affecting your credit score and your ability to obtain credit and/or financing in the future.  However, even if the lender forgives the deficiency, the borrower may face a large tax liability due to this cancellation of debt.   Since the laws vary by state and vary depending on the type of mortgage (purchase money vs. non-purchase money; primary residence vs. investment property), it would be best to consult an attorney before beginning the short sale process. Many people wonder“What is a bank short sale?” Now that you have information about what a bank short sale is, you can speak to an attorney to see if it is right for you.

What is a bank short sale and is it right for me?

Although a short sale is similar to selling a home in the traditional method, the process can be long and complicated.   Having multiple liens against a property can drastically slow down the short sale approval process.  For the home to sell all lien holders must approve the sales price and all must agree to release their respective lien.  And although the primary lien holder approves the sale, secondary lien holders may not.   If the homeowner’s mortgage is backed by mortgage insurance, the insurance company is usually asked to make up some of the payment deficiency; and many times seeks contribution from the homeowner before it will approve the short sale.  If the homeowner is unable or unwilling to contribute any funds to reduce this deficiency, the insurance company and/or lenders could refuse to approve the sale of the home.

 

A bank approved short sale will also have an impact on the homeowner’s credit score.  The extent of this impact varies depending on whether or not the borrower is/was delinquent or late in making payments before and during the short sale process.  Additionally, if a homeowner is not successful in obtaining a written statement from the lien holders that they are releasing the homeowner from the underlying debt (including all deficiency amounts) the lienholder may report the debt as unpaid and this could prevent a homeowner from obtaining credit or another mortgage in the future.  Even if the lien holder agrees to release the borrower from the underlying debt, the lender will likely report the debt as settled or paid for less than what was owed.  This could also affect a borrower’s credit rating.

 

So, what is a bank short sale? It could be the answer you are looking for. If a homeowner is considering selling their home via a short sale, they should first meet with an experienced real estate attorney to determine if a short sale is a right option for them; and during the process to make sure the terms of the short sale are in the homeowner’s best interest.  If you are having a hard time making your mortgage payments, schedule a consultation with The Peddy Berg Law Firm to discuss your options.

Protecting Intellectual Property

It is essential for a business to take steps to protect its intellectual property. A business’ intellectual property could consist of marketing strategies, efficient processes, ingredients, the development of one-of-a-kind items, or any other aspect of a company’s business that is a source of income for the company and/or makes it unique as compared to its competitors. Trade secrets, designs, inventions and authors’ original works are all considered to be intellectual property; however, the way in which intellectual property is protected is based on the category the property falls into.
Copyrights

An author’s original work, such as musical, dramatic, and literary works; visual and audio recordings; software, and photographs enjoy copyright protection. Once an original work is created, the work has certain copyright protections, even if the creator has not filed for copyright protection through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Many times creators of work will use the copyright symbol to advise the world they intend to assert copyright protection in that particular work; however many times the authors do not use these symbols appropriately. Additionally, if a creator is serious about asserting his/her copyright protections against infringement, he/she needs to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can walk them through the process of securing and enforcing their copyright protections.
Trademarks

Many times a business’ brand, goodwill, or reputation is its biggest asset but has the least protection. Businesses carry insurance for their buildings, equipment, and products, and they have their employees enter into confidentiality and non-compete agreements, but how many have taken steps to ensure their brand from infringement? If another company pops up using your business’ name and/or logo in the hopes of capitalizing on your business’ success, what can you do about it? The answer – it depends on whether or not your business enjoys any trademark protections. Applicable laws protect consumers from being confused or deceived if another business attempts to use a name that is the same as, or similar to, one of your products or business; however, unless your business has applied for trademark protection, you may have a hard time proving your business owns the trademark, and you may be limited in the number of damages you can recover from the infringing business.

Additionally, before you start a business, you need to be sure that the name and/or logo that you are selecting does not infringe on another business’ trademark. An experienced attorney can help you investigate whether the business name or logo could be deemed an infringement on that owned by another business.

Homeowners Association Lawyer

Many neighborhoods throughout the Valley are part of Homeowner Associations, commonly referred to as “HOAs.”   Many times, these HOAs contain rules and regulations which dictate what a homeowner can and cannot do with his/her property and collect assessments to assist the HOA’s landscaping, maintenance, and capital expenditure obligations.  While most homeowners live in harmony with their HOA, there are times where disputes arise between homeowners and HOAs.   Many times these disputes arise from allegations of breaking a rule or regulation; non-payment of regular assessments; or the imposition of penalties and fines.   Whether you are a homeowner or a member of an HOA Board, a Homeowners association lawyer The Peddy Berg Law Firm can help you navigate through the various statues and governing documents of the HOA.

Throughout her career, Attorney Peddy Berg has assisted a number of homeowners in disputes with their HOAs.  Some of these disputes have involved challenging the decision of the HOA’s architectural review board, and a decision of the HOA Board to impose fines and/or penalties for allegedly breaking the HOA’s rules and regulations.  Other disputes involve challenging a Board’s decision to limit a homeowner’s right to vote, a Board’s decision to impose a special assessment or increase assessments or challenge the validity of a Board election.  Additionally, Attorney Peddy Berg has represented countless homeowners in settling disputes and/or lawsuits initiated by HOAs to collect past due assessments, many times for amounts less than what is claimed owed.

Likewise, Attorney Peddy Berg has also represented a number of HOAs during her extensive career as a homeowners association lawyer.  Whether it be simply to provide advice regarding the interpretation of the HOA’s Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs); attend Board meetings and/or provide advice on a particular course of action proposed by the HOA Board; initiate legal action to enforce the CC&Rs; draft and record liens for unpaid assessments; or initiate lien foreclosure suits to recover unpaid assessments, Attorney Peddy Berg will diligently and aggressively represent her HOA clients and their interests.

Attorney Peddy Berg has extensive experience as a Homeowners Association Lawyer.  So whether you are a homeowner having an issue with your HOA, or you represent an HOA in need of high-quality and affordable representation, contact The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC online or by calling 480-382-3109 to schedule a consultation.

Scottsdale Foreclosure and Alternatives

As an experienced Scottsdale Foreclosure Lawyer, The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC strives to educate clients on their foreclosure and short sale options.   There are many pros and cons to foreclosure, short sale, deeds in lieu, and loan modifications, but knowing which option is best for you to do is difficult without the advice of an experienced real estate attorney.   Additionally, an option that may be best for one client would not be good for another.

Fortunately, Arizona’s anti-deficiency laws offer some protection to homeowners who can no longer afford their homes.  If a homeowner’s mortgage does not meet the criteria for anti-deficiency protection and the home sells for less than what is owed on the mortgage, the lender can potentially bring a lawsuit against the homeowner for the remaining balance – called a deficiency action.  Before a person’s home is foreclosed on, they should meet with an experienced real estate attorney to learn their risks of a deficiency action and how to protect their remaining assets.

An alternative to foreclosure is short sales.  Unfortunately, a lot of misleading information exists about short sales.  There are times where it makes more sense to short sale a home versus allowing it to go into foreclosure.  However, short sale transactions have their own risks.  There are many people involved in a short sale transaction, any one of which could, and do, make mistakes costing homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars.  If you are looking to protect yourself in a short sale transaction, call The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC.

Attorney Jennifer Peddy Berg is an experienced real estate attorney, knowledgeable in the areas of foreclosure and short sales.  If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of Scottsdale foreclosure, short sale, or deeds in lieu as they relate to your situation, and learn more about governmental programs that may be able to help, please contact The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC online or by calling 480-382-3109.

mechanics Lines

In Arizona, licensed contractors have been afforded mechanisms to ensure they are paid for work completed on residential and commercial properties.  One such mechanism is a licensed contractor’s ability to record a mechanic’s lien against a residential or commercial property when they are not immediately paid for the work or materials supplied to the job site.  If after recording a mechanic’s lien against a property, the contractor remains unpaid, Arizona statutes afford it the right to file a lawsuit to foreclose its mechanic’s lien and take the property in an effort to recoup the monies owed on that project; provided the contractor initiates the foreclosure lawsuit within the applicable time periods set forth in the statute(s).

While recording a mechanics’ lien is a fairly straightforward and easy process (provided the contractor has met the preliminary requirements for filing a lien), the laws for enforcing mechanics liens can be complicated and confusing.  To reduce the risk of the alien being challenged, the contractor is wise to seek the assistance of an experienced mechanic’s lien attorney prior to recording the lien.  In Arizona, if a mechanic’s lien is improperly recorded against a property – for whatever reason – statutes provide that the property owner can initiate a suit against the contractor lien holder for statutory and/or treble damages.

If you are a contractor, to avoid the risk of recording an invalid lien and being ordered to pay monies to the property owner — on top of not being paid for the services and/or materials you have already provided to the property — you should consult with an experienced construction law attorney, like those at The Peddy Berg Law Firm, who has experience drafting, recording, enforcing and defending mechanic’s liens.  If you are a property owner, and you believe a contractor has improperly recorded a lien against your property and you have been damaged as a result, please call the experienced construction law attorneys at The Peddy Berg Law Firm.

The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services and outstanding customer service, all at a rate you can afford.  If you need an experienced mechanic’s lien attorney in Scottsdale, please contact The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC online or by calling 480-382-3109.

Scottsdale Construction Defects Lawyer

When purchasing a new home or remodeling a home, there is an expectation that it is free from construction defects. If you find that your home has construction issues, whether it is the roof, foundation, plumbing, siding, stucco or mold, the discovery of an issue can be frustrating and disconcerting.  Construction issues are at best a nuisance and at worst quite dangerous for you and your family’s health or safety.  Attorney Jennifer Peddy Berg of The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC, is a Scottsdale construction defects lawyer able to assist plaintiffs and defendants in finding resolutions for construction-related lawsuits.

Whether resolution requires a simple demand letter, filing a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors seeking disciplinary action or more serious action — like filing a lawsuit — Attorney Peddy Berg knows how to handle each scenario. Because communication is important to her, she provides clients with a variety of legal options and collaborates with them to decide how to proceed.

Since a construction project involves a number of individuals and businesses, it can be difficult to identify the party at fault. Attorney Peddy Berg first examines the construction defect to find the root cause of the issue. She may bring in a trusted expert or coordinating experts to investigate the situation. Once the problem and its cause are identified, she discusses the range of available options with her clients. If the experts identify a workmanship concern, Attorney Peddy Berg works hard to resolve any issues prior to litigation. However, if litigation proves necessary, she works diligently with insurance companies, contractors and other professionals to resolve the case as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Whether you are a contractor or homeowner who needs assistance with a matter involving allegations of construction defects, The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC, can help. Contact a Scottsdale construction defects lawyer today by calling 480-382-3109.

Scottsdale Contractor Lawyer

Contractors experience a great deal of stress caused by the pressures of meeting deadlines and budgets, complying with workman standards, meeting clients’ expectations and ensuring they get paid. At times, given the pressure, mistakes happen. Whether you made a mistake or you have been accused of a construction defect that had nothing to do with your workmanship a Scottsdale Contractor Lawyer at The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC, can help.

Attorney Peddy Berg is experienced in representing contractors, subcontractors, architects and suppliers in complex construction law cases. As an experienced litigator, she has worked on several multimillion-dollar cases. Guided by her experience and strong work ethic, she crafts effective legal arguments and defenses for her clients. As a well-respected business owner of several small businesses, she has a unique perspective on legal situations and uses this knowledge and her legal experience to find creative and effective resolutions to her clients’ cases. As a Scottsdale Contractor Lawyer, Jen Peddy Berg represents clientele throughout the Valley.

Representing  Contractors in a Variety of Settings

The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC, represents clients in the number of different capacities pertaining to construction law, including:

  • Breach of contract claims: If you are facing a breach of contract claim for nonpayment, nonperformance or warranty issues, The Peddy Berg Law Firm can assist you in bringing or defending a legal action.
  • Mechanic’s liens: Attorney Peddy Berg assists contractors in securing their mechanic and materialman lien rights by reviewing documentation and drafting the documentation associated with Preliminary 20-Day Lien Notices and Notice and Claim of Liens. In addition, she is experienced in bringing lawsuits to enforce mechanics’ liens.
  • Construction defect: The firm provides legal assistance in prosecuting and defending any construction defect concerns for contractors, subcontractors, and architects.
  • Licensing and regulation issues: The Peddy Berg Law Firm represents individuals and companies in disciplinary proceedings before the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) and Office of Administrative Hearings, and appeals administrative decisions to the Superior Court when appropriate. The Peddy Berg Law Firm also assists contractors with staying in compliance with Arizona statutes and administrative rules.
  • Other services: Attorney Peddy Berg can provide consultations and legal representation regarding lien rights, stop notice rights, bond claims, prompt-payment claims, recovery fund claims, and contract review/drafting.

Contact a Scottsdale Contractor Lawyer

Attorney Peddy Berg provides experienced legal representation in construction law matters. The dire consequences associated with these legal matters can ultimately affect your license, business, and livelihood. If you need a construction lawyer, experienced in representing contractors in Scottsdale, The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC, can help. Contact a Scottsdale Contractor Lawyer online or by calling 480-382-3109 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Trademark Attorney in Scottsdale

One of the most valuable assets a business has is its brand. But what is in a brand? Is it the business’ name (i.e. Google, Walmart, State Farm), the business’ logo (i.e. Nike swoosh, Apple’s iconic apple, McDonald’s golden arches), or a combination of the two? And how does a business with an existing brand or a business that is working towards creating one, protect its brand from being usurped by its competitors? By federally registering its trademark. Hiring an experienced trademark attorney to file your trademark application is imperative to protecting your brand. If you are looking to protect your business’ brand, please call the experienced trademark attorneys at The Peddy Berg Law Firm to help.

Many businesses do not realize that simply registering one’s name with the Secretary of State, either through their incorporation paperwork or even a state tradename registration does not protect one of their most valuable assets. However, a federal trademark registration issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides your business with numerous important benefits and protections – which includes the ability to exclude anyone else from using your registered trademark. This is why it is so important to federally register your business’ trademark as early as possible and why a trademark attorney can be invaluable.

Although the trademark application is available online, most individuals and businesses are not familiar with the class/coding system of the USPTO and will therefore not select the most appropriate class and codes that will most aptly describe their trademarks and/or the substance of their business. Additionally, while there are a number of online services, like LegalZoom, that will file federal registrations for their customers, these services cannot provide you with any legal advice as to whether you should limit or expand the scope of services you claim are encompassed under the specific trademark to ensure a greater chance of approval; and/or give you any indication as to whether a trademark application will likely be approved by the USPTO. Ultimately, if you receive no advice or bad advice and your application is rejected, not only will you lose all of your fees (registration fees and the fees paid to the servicer), but in the meantime, someone may have filed an application to approve the trademark you were trying to register, thereby preventing you from also using that trademark without infringing on someone else’s trademark. An experienced trademark attorney will help guide you through the registration process, ask the right questions to get to know your business and select the classes/coding that will give you the best chance at having your trademark approved.

Let the experienced trademark attorneys at The Peddy Berg Law Firm help protect your business’ brand and identity. Most trademark applications are performed for a low flat fee. If you need an experienced trademark attorney, please contact The Peddy Berg Law Firm online or by calling (480) 382-3109.

The single largest source of intangible value in a company is its trademark,” says David Haigh, founder of Brand Finance, a brand-valuation consultancy.

Franchise attorney in Scottsdale

Whether you are looking to purchase a franchise in AZ or are looking to franchise your own business model, a Franchise attorney in Scottsdale from The Peddy Berg Law Firm can help. Purchasing a franchise is a common quick-start business opportunity for new entrepreneurs – especially those that want to limit their overall risk. As a potential franchisee, with the excitement of starting a new business, you may be tempted to buy the franchise before you fully understand the terms of the agreement and have identified the risks. As a franchisor, above all, you need to protect what you’ve worked so hard to build – your business’ brand, its reputation. As experienced franchise attorneys, The Peddy Berg Law Firm can help you decide if franchising your business or buying a franchise is right for you.

For the franchisees, in reviewing franchise agreements, there are many things to consider. For example: How restrictive is the non-compete clause? What will the franchise ultimately cost you? Is it is a one-time fee, a monthly or yearly fee, based on a percentage of sales, or a combination of these options? Do you get exclusive rights over a certain territory? As you can see, it is imperative that you have an experienced franchise attorney in Scottsdale, like The Peddy Berg Law Firm, review and interpret these agreements and inform you of what they actually say versus relying solely on what the franchisor has orally promised you.

For franchisors, it is so important to have an experienced attorney assist you in drafting your franchise agreements. As the owner of a franchise empire, you need to protect your business’ brand and reputation by thoroughly investigating potential franchisees. Additionally, depending on the payment terms and/or financing offered to the franchise, you need to protect your interest in the assets of the business to ensure payment of all amounts owed to you in the event the business fails. These are only a couple of the issues you must consider and prepare for if you’ve decided to franchise your business. You need to hire an experienced AZ franchise attorney to navigate the common issues and pitfalls in creating franchises and help protect your business, its reputation, and your bottom line.

The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services and outstanding customer service, all at a rate you can afford. If you need an experienced franchise attorney in Scottsdale, please contact The Peddy Berg Law Firm, PLLC online or by calling 480-382-3109.