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.