Whether you are a work-at-home freelancer or a Fortune 500 corporation, your business runs on contracts. Even experienced owners are sometimes surprised to learn that agreements they have relied on for years are legally unenforceable. Other owners are surprised to learn about effective defenses to agreements they believed to be ironclad.
The aggressive attorneys at Weisensell, Mastrantonio & Niese, LLP stand up for your legal and financial rights in these cases. We diligently review the agreements that your business relies on, to make sure your rights are protected. We also make sure you are aware of any loopholes and explain any unfamiliar language in easy-to-understand terms. If push comes to shove, we represent clients both in court and in alternative dispute resolution formats, such as arbitration hearings.
Even if an agreement is in writing and signed, it may not be an enforceable contract. In fact, this requirement is one of the least important ones. To be enforceable in court, a contract must contain:
Typically, Ohio courts apply the four-corners rule in contract formation and interpretation matters. External evidence about the agreement, whether it is in writing or not, is generally inadmissible. This evidence does not come from inside the “four corners” of the written contract.
Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn once supposedly said that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” His non-legal opinion notwithstanding, oral contracts are enforceable in many cases. However, they are sometimes more difficult to establish in court. Moreover, certain contracts, like real estate agreements, are subject to the Statute of Frauds. So, these pacts must be in writing.
A successful defense usually begins when the contract is signed. We encourage parties to add choice-of-law and other favorable provisions into their contracts. Once court proceedings start, there are basically five defenses in contract claims:
Aggrieved parties usually have a duty to mitigate (reduce) their damages. For example, if an apartment tenant breaks the lease, the landlord has a duty to try and rent the apartment to another tenant.
Depending on a number of factors, contracts may or may not be enforceable. For a free consultation with an experienced business litigation attorney in Akron, contact Weisensell, Mastrantonio & Niese, LLP. Convenient payment plans are available.
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