Actions speak louder than words, and this is especially true in litigation. If you question the validity of the terms of a contract or actions of a potential litigant, it is in your best interest to say something. It may not solve the problem, but behaving as if everything is ok may cause problems if you to try litigate over the issue later.
In the New York case,
T. Reagan Trucking, Inc. v. Creer Design Group, Inc, T. Reagan Trucking (“Reagan”) is suing Creer Design Group
(“Creer”) for breaching their contract, by not paying for
services. Reagan and Creer had a rate agreement, where the only thing
specified in the agreement was the rate charged for use of equipment.
The specific equipment and duration of its use was written down on separate
tickets which were filled out each piece of equipment, before it could
be used by Creer. The contract combined with each ticket has all the information
necessary to create a valid and enforceable contract.
Creer has two defenses in this case. First, it claims that the person who signed the contract with Reagan, Ms. Susan Bae, was not actually authorized to sign the agreement on behalf of the company. Creer theory is that without an authorized signature, there is no valid contract. This is a problem for two reasons. First, Creer does not offer evidence of Ms. Bae’s position or responsibility. This information is helpful because it would clarify why she seemed to be handling the paperwork but did not have authority to sign the agreement on behalf of the company. Second, Creer rented equipment through Reagan on three separate occasions before the lawsuit occurred. Creer acknowledged that it was sent a signed copy of the final contract, therefore, it was its responsibility to find report the problem to Reagan. Even if the signature was not valid, by engaging in the contract, they accepted the stated benefits and therefore must accept the responsibilities.
Creer’s second defense was that it had a subcontractor and that company is the one that used the equipment, not Creer. Because of this, Creer believes that it should not be responsible for the unpaid amounts. However, Creer is the company that signed the contract with Reagan, making them liable, regardless of who is actually using the equipment. Also, in 2009, Creer attempted to make a partial payment on the overdue bill. When the check did not clear, it sent a fax to Reagan explaining that it was having issues with its subcontractor but it was trying its best to pay. Creer’s past actions show that it believed the bills were valid, putting an end to this line of defense.
Any provable past action can be used against you in a court. While you may not intend to seek litigation for an issue, it is always a possibility. Having an attorney can be very beneficial. An attorney can help you review your case and the steps you’ve taken so far to craft a thoughtful explanation for the court. The help of an attorney can be useful at various points in business, potentially saving you time and money later. If you have any contract questions, consider calling our Long Island business lawyer for assistance.
See Related Blog Posts:
When is a Cancelled Contract a Breach of Contract
In New York Parties May be Liable for Breach of Contract When Relying on Oral Modifications