Contract Law in Florida
The most litigated aspect of dispute in the State of Florida are issues arising from contract law and interpretation. A contract, can be oral or written, and it is an agreement between two or more people or entities for some kind of act to occur. Most contracts are made without the use of attorneys and as a result ambiguity in the contract can result in disputes later on. It is not uncommon to see cases where lack of a proper contract resulted in hundreds of thousands in litigation. At the initiation of the contract, otherwise known as the honeymoon period, parties generally enter into the contract with the fairest of terms to carry the intent through. However, when unexpected events occur, that are either not addressed by the contract or is otherwise ambiguous, plenty of controversy arise even by well meaning parties.
When attorneys and lawyers are not used, oftentimes the parties miss many decisions which should be made before any dispute arises. Once a bona fide dispute is in play, then the parties are much less likely to agree on the most basic of concepts including such things as where to litigate the dispute, whether attorney fees are covered, and what the terms of the contract are.
I well drafted contract includes the duration of the contract, delineates all reasons for canceling the contract, anticipates "acts of God" or other unexpected events, specifies the jurisdiction and venue of the Court or Arbitration to be used, determines what law will be used, and specifies all the types of damages which are recoverable such as actual damages, attorney fees, punitive damages, compensatory damages, liquidated damages, and the like.
Although under Florida Law a contract may be oral, there are many limitations to the enforcement of an oral contract. This limitation is generally referred to as the Statute of Frauds. Generally, the Statute of Frauds prevents the enforcement of an oral contract if the contract cannot be performed within one year or exceeds a particular amount for some kinds of goods or services.
To have a contract you must have consideration. In law consideration means something of value that is exchanged for something else of value. In addition the contract must have been assented by both parties, meaning recognized and agreed to by both parties. Most of the time this is accomplished by executing your signature on a document. In some circumstances, even if there is not a written or verbal contract, a quasi contract may be formed under a concept known as quantum meruit. This is when a party accepts a benefit at the expense of another. In such case, the acceptance can be implied based on the totality of the circumstance.
You should consult an attorney or a lawyer before entering into any agreement. Having a contract where the clear intent of the parties is manifested is a preferred way to conducting any kind of business or endeavor, rather than deal with the legal expenses necessitated by litigating an issue. You also should consult an experienced attorney to properly advice you on the feasibility of enforcing an existing contract and to help you understand the legal and practical implications of the litigation process.
At Arcadier and Associates we have the resources and experience to draft contracts and to protect your legal interests during the litigation process.