We take pride in our ability to help our clients with every legal need and business challenge. Some of the most popular contract law and civil litigation we provide include:
- Commercial transactions. We provide our clients with sound and thorough advice when it comes to your business and commercial transactions, allowing you to make informed exchanges whether you are acting on your own or as a separate business entity.
- Contract Negotiation- All types of contracts, individual to individual, business to business, business to employee, business to customer and non-disclosures.
- Contract Drafting-We are able to draft even your most complicated agreements and strive to make them clear and concise. We can also provide simple agreements you may need as an individual such as service agreements.
- Contract Review and Editing- We will review any agreement you would like scanned and assessed for fairness or issue spotting-such as unanticipated liability.
- Debt Collection and Other Contract Enforcement-We will follow through with your contracts and assist you in enforcing and your debt collection.
- Business litigation/Contract Enforcement and Debt Collection litigation-We will always attempt to negotiate an issue rather than going to trial against clients, customers or other businesses. However, sometimes, when the parties cannot reach an agreement, it is necessary to go to court for hearings and eventually a trial. We continue to attempt to reach an agreement even through the court process so we can assist you in saving money.
- Landlord/Tenant-We represent landlords in eviction matters.
- Foreclosure/Real Estate-We represent Plaintiffs in foreclosure matters.
What is a contract? A contract is a promise or set of promises or agreement between people or legal entities (such as corporations) where one party agrees to provides or goods, or services in exchange for payment, or other services or goods. The basic elements required for the agreement to be a legally enforceable contract are: mutual assent, expressed by a valid offer and acceptance; adequate consideration; capacity; and legality.
To form a contract the parties must have capacity to contract. Typically parties must be 18 years old to enter into a contract. (However, if the contracting party is under 18, they still may be able to sue to enforce a contract because the contract is voidable not void as it pertains to the 18 year old.) If the contract is considered voidable by the underaged person, the other party may not be able to sue to enforce the contract against the underaged person. The parties must also be mentally competent to have capacity to contract. Florida addressed competency with regard to a contract matter in Waterman v. Higgins, 28 Fla. 660, 10 So. 97 (1891). In this case, a decedent's heirs sought to have a deed set aside on the grounds that at the time the deceased executed the deed he was “entirely non compos mentis, insane.” Id. at 663, 10 So. at 98. The Supreme Court established the following as the test of mental incompetency in Florida for contract matters: “The sole question is whether [the alleged incompetent], at the time he executed the deed, ha[d] sufficient intelligence to understand fully the nature and effect of the transaction. ” Id. at 672, 10 So. at 100 (emphasis added). In Donnelly v. Mann,68 So. 2d 584, 586 (Fla. 1953) (citing Douglas v. Ogle), the Florida Supreme court stated that, "mere weakness of mind, unaccompanied by any other inequitable incident, if the person has sufficient intelligence to understand the nature of the transaction and is left to act upon his own freewill, is not a sufficient ground to set aside an agreement."
Legality-If parties agree to a service/services or exchange of goods that are illegal, or even impossible then there is no valid contract.
Mutual Assent -Mutual assent is required to form a contract. Mutual assent can be assessed in reviewing an Offer and Acceptance and their terms and conditions. An offer is made when someone proposes an exchange in goods or services in exchange for other goods, services or payment. If an offer is made and the response is a change to that offer, then it will likely be considered a counter offer rather than acceptance. Mutual assent requires that both or all parties have the same understanding and desires to exchange the exact same good, services and money, and agree to the exact conditions of that exchange. An acceptance therefore must be an acceptance of all the terms and conditions of the offer.
Adequate Consideration- Adequate consideration is consideration or something provided that is equal, or reasonably proportioned, to the value of that for which it is exchanged. If an exchange does not require adequate consideration then the exchange is likely intended or will be considered a gift. A contract requires that both or all sides of an agreement provide something of value.
Oral or Written
Contracts may be oral or written. However, Florida has Statutes that require that certain types of contracts are enforceable only if the contract is in writing or evidenced by a written memorandum or electronic record that is signed. Those contracts are the following:
1. Contract for Marriage-Any promise in exchange of marriage must be in writing.
2. Contracts/Agreements that cannot be completed within a YEAR-Any agreement to provide services or goods that cannot be completed in a year. An example is an agreement to provide services for every month for two years. It is impossible to complete the terms of this agreement within a year as the agreement requires services provided for 24 months and therefore this agreement must be in writing in order to be a valid and thus enforceable contract.
3. Land-Any land transfer must be in writing. A temporary use, such as rental or lease may not require a writing however as long as the lease can be completed within a year.
4. Executor-Any agreement from an executor that he/she will pay the debts of an estate must be in writing.
5. Sale of Goods over $500.00. The UCC, Uniform Commercial code, Section 672.201, states that a contract for the sale of goods for a price of $500 or more will not be enforceable unless it is under a written agreement. The contract must also be signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought.
6. Surety-any surety, such as promises to answer for or guaranty the debt or duty of another person must be in writing.
The six additional contracts that are required in writing are:
7. Any newspaper subscription must be in writing in Florida.
8. Health care guarantees must be in writing
9. Debt barred by the statute of limitations.
10. Home solicitation sales;
11. Home improvement contracts
12. Credit agreements
The elements for breach of contract are as follows: 1) the existence of a valid contract; 2) a breach of that contract -that one party did not fulfill their obligation; and 3) damages caused by that breach-the non-breaching party suffered some type of harm or loss. Some Florida courts have held that the breach be material.
Contact us today if you need help with Business Law!