Contract Disputes

At the heart of most business litigation is a dispute over the meaning, interpretation and effect of key contractual terms. We can assist you with a wide variety of contractual disputes involving:

■  Businesses and their vendors and suppliers
■  Employees
■  Licensees
■  Partners, shareholders and business owners
■  Real estate transactions
■  Commercial landlords and tenants

We can also provide counsel and advice prior to and in anticipation of a problem with a contract or contract partner. Often critical mistakes can be made when one party anticipates that the other party will fail to live up to its obligations under the contract and attempts to resolve the dispute without following the proper legal steps. As with all potential or actual disputes, our primary goal is to avoid unnecessary complications while serving our client’s business goals and objectives.

Terms of Payment and Compensation

Many breach of contract cases concern one party’s failure to pay the amount due under a contract even though they have received the goods or services that are the subject of the contract. When such a situation arises, and if negotiations to compel the breaching party to pay fail, the person or entity that has not received payment can turn to the courts to enforce the contract. If successful, a non-breaching party can receive not only the payment due under the contract but may also be able to get paid for additional expenses incurred as a result of the actions of the party that failed to pay what was due under the contract. This is one example of how an experienced business litigation attorney can increase the amount of money that can be recovered in a contract dispute. When the other party to the contract appreciates the full amount of their financial exposure, they often settle more quickly and reasonably.

Attorney’s Fees

The amount of money needed to successfully litigate a case often precludes many businesses from seeking legal assistance where they been harmed even though the facts may be in their favor. Fortunately, the recovery of attorney’s fees by the prevailing party is allowed if authorized and provided for in the contract under California Code of Civil Procedure §§ 1032(b) and 1033.5(a)(10) and Civil Code § 1717. Under Civil Code § 1717(a), the availability of attorney’s fees is reciprocal even though the contractual provision providing for the award of attorney’s fees is drafted so that the attorney’s fees are only available to one party.

Contractual attorney’s fees provisions can greatly lessen the costs associated with enforcing contracts. The existence of an attorney’s fee provision can also alter the calculus on whether to litigate or not. The possibility of having to pay the prevailing party’s attorney’s fees can also be used as leverage in settlement negotiations. Thus, even if your contract says that only side is entitled to recover attorney’s fees, or the contract is silent about this issue, consult with a lawyer before concluding that you definitely cannot recover attorney’s fees if you win the lawsuit.

To obtain more information about how we may be to assist you in connection with any potential or actual business dispute in the Los Angeles area, please contact the Law Office of Michael Chung at 213-700-0198.