Dealing With a Breach of Contract With a Letter Before Action

If you want to claim damages in a negligence action or a contract dispute, the letter before action will be your first step in asserting your rights. The breach of contract letter before action, or demand letter, will give the other party or parties notice that you are intending to make a claim.

If you are lucky, you can resolve the conflict with your letter.  This is one area where calling an attorney or filing a lawsuit right away is probably a waste of resources, especially since the judge hearing a civil dispute will first ask whether you made any attempts to settle the matter without involving judicial resources. You need to be polite but let the other party know that you don’t intend to let the matter go, and explain the nature of your complaint. There is also an important point that if you are needlessly aggressive, the other party may only become defensive.

When composing your letter, you should explain the issues in the most neutral way, so that you don’t open yourself to a negative outcome. Here are some suggestions on how to write the letter and how to go through with the process of preparing for potential litigation.

What Are The Parts In A Letter Before Action?

Here are the various sections that a letter before action usually contains:

The Background

You need to set out how you came to be involved in the transaction at dispute. It is important to explain the background in a way that outside parties will be able to understand, as you will present this letter to the Court if you cannot resolve the issues in any other way.

The Circumstances That Led To This Particular Claim

This is where you give details about what happened in this instance. You shouldn’t attempt to write about other instances unless they are relevant in some way. Many people who are not accustomed to dealing with the courts like to put in extra complaints which seem relevant because they seem to show a pattern of bad conduct, but you need to be more concise and focus on the particular issue at hand. This is where you can explain exactly what the person did wrong in this instance, such as whether there was a breach of contract for non-payment or a lapse in a duty of care owed. You must be able to prove that you are owed what you are asking for, and if you have figured up the damages, you can list the amounts here.

What You Want

In some cases, the answer is very specific. For instance, if you were supposed to receive a certain payment for work you performed, you may want only a certain amount of money. You may want the other party to return an item you sent but that was never paid for, or you may be demanding another legal remedy, such as the enforcement of a service the other party agreed to. Even if you are willing to compromise on the eventual remedy, start with the maximum that you believe you are owed. You are not in a position of strength if you immediately concede part of your claim in an attempt to be nice.

The Time Frame You Are Allowing For The Response

There are always timelines when it comes to dealing with civil issues. You only have a certain amount of time where you are legally allowed to file a lawsuit, so you need to keep the statute of limitations in mind. In Arizona, you normally have up to six years for a contract claim. However, if you have incurred damages, receiving your compensation can be a big part of moving forward. Normally you would give someone at least two weeks to answer a letter before action, but you don’t want to let them drag it out.

The Consequences Of Failing To Comply

This is tricky because it is important to be honest. If you are not intending to do a specific action, do not make the threat idly. If you are serious about following through, let them know that you are going to file a lawsuit if you cannot get satisfaction. Make sure to let them know that if you win, they will be responsible for the legal fees you incur with filing, and possibly with attorney fees.

You Don’t Need To Be Antagonistic

This is just an important reminder that being antagonistic will not help with your negotiations. Even some lawyers do this, but it is a poor way to operate. You have a right to receive compensation if someone has broken the terms of a contract, and you can remind yourself to be firm and stand up for yourself. When they see that you are serious and that you know what you’re talking about, they are more likely to have a conversation with you about how to resolve your conflict.

The Size Of Your Claim Matters

Sometimes you are the victim in a dispute but the claim is so small or so large that the rules are different. A claim which is too small is probably not worth pursuing, as you will spend needless hours pursuing a result that won’t help you very much. When it’s not worth pursuing an action, you might want to choose not to deal with the offending party again.

If the claim is very large, then you may want to consider whether you want to deal with it on your own. Even if you choose to write the letter before action first, you are probably better off seeking the advice of an attorney to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for failure or for further losses down the road. There are also special rules, such as for public entities, where the notice of claim must meet certain specifications.

Many attorneys offer a free one-hour consultation, so you won’t lose anything by asking for help. Never worry about looking like you don’t know very much because it only looks good if you are new to dealing with courtrooms.

Examples of Breach of Contract Cases

People enter into contracts for mutual advantage because each has something the other party wants. It may be something as simple as buying a product for money, or something more complicated such as an employment contract with a no-compete clause.

If either of the parties do not fulfill their end of the contract, a breach of contract has occurred. At that time, you can try to resolve the issue with a letter or by negotiation. If all attempts fail, you may end up in a breach of contract case in a civil court.

When you are faced with a breach of contract, it is always wise to seek the advice of a business attorney who is experienced in that area. Your attorney will work to find the solution that is best and most efficient for you.

Breach of Contract Example Cases

Here are some examples of various kinds of breach of contract cases and attempts to resolve them.

Breach of Contract Example Number 1: Failure to Provide Services

Your business depends on other companies for some of its needs, including services like building maintenance and transporting clients. You have had a contract with a company for over ten years which is supposed to send in employees to do basic tasks like taking out the trash and cleaning common areas, but the company has failed to send anyone for the last two weeks.

When you called your main contact, you learned that the company had taken on extra work and was struggling to keep up with all the work. You got a promise that someone would come out when available.

You may either have a personal or business contract with another party who is supposed to perform services for you, but the reason you have a contract is that you depend on those services. In this case, you don’t have anyone you can spare to do this particular work, besides which you have already paid another company to perform those functions.

Best Option: Negotiation

In this case, you have a long-standing relationship with another company that you may want to protect. They are breaking the contract and being highly disrespectful, but they probably don’t want to lose your business either at this point.

Let them know that you are serious about enforcing the contract and that you expect to get credit for the work not done. You may want to talk to an attorney about whether it is better to find a mutual resolution where both parties walk away from the contract if the other company can no longer perform the necessary work.

Breach of Contract Example Number 2: Violation of Employment Non-Compete Clause

Your business has standard non-compete clauses in all its sales and technology employment contracts. In exchange, your employees receive several benefits, including training and certifications they won’t get at other businesses. One of your employees left on a bad note and immediately went to work for one of your local competitors. Your Human Resources Department sent a letter reminding him of the contract and providing a copy, but he has not responded.

Before you designed your standard contracts, you sat down with an attorney to make sure they complied with state law expectations. In Arizona, non-compete clauses are enforceable as long as they protect legitimate business interests, are reasonable in scope and duration, and as long as they don’t violate public policy. Your business stays ahead of the competition with some innovative training and methods, and you only require former employers not to work for local competitors for one year after separation from your company.

Best Option: Litigation and Attempt to Force Compliance

Although no one wants to go to court against a former employee, your rights in this matter are important. Once you can prove you have given consideration in exchange for their agreement not to work for competitors, you should seek to enforce the contract.

The Steps You Will Need to Take

  1. Write your demand letter. This will always be your first step when you know you may be litigating the matter.
  2. If your former employee doesn’t comply at that point, draft your complaint and explain what you are asking for. In this case, you may be asking for the Court to order compliance instead of asking for monetary damages. Make copies of everything.
  3. Send a summons to your former employee.
  4. Follow the rules of discovery and answer and crossclaims.
  5. Prepare for court by gathering all your necessary proof. Also, bring to court with you information regarding the legal basis of your claim, so you can prove the contract was reasonable under Arizona law.

Breach of Contract Example Number 3: Misrepresentation of Assets Being Used As Collateral

You negotiated a contract with another party who wanted to purchase a larger property for their business. As part of the collateral, you eventually agreed to accept a smaller property the other party purported to own. The other party has taken possession of the property but almost immediately stopped making the agreed on payments. When you tried to contact the buyer, your phone calls were refused. Upon further investigation, you discovered that the property being used for collateral was not worth as much as was represented to you during the negotiations and that the party would have known the actual value.

This case seems frustrating because the other party is being evasive and dishonest. Negotiation will be difficult if not impossible with a party attempting to trick you. However, you may be able to get results when you try the same methods with an attorney. While the offending party may not take you or the situation seriously, the threat of legal action up front may be more persuasive.

Best Option: Litigation and Attempt to Recover Damages

In this case, you have a valid reason to believe the other party committed fraud when entering into the contract. In order to secure the contract, there was a material misrepresentation as to the value of the collateral. That means that if you have to go to court, you could qualify for both compensatory and punitive damages. Punitive damages go above and beyond the actual amount of the claim and are aimed at punishing parties who act in bad faith.

The Steps You Will Need to Take

  1. Send your demand letter. Make it clear in your letter exactly what you are asking for, and that you know about the fraud.
  2. Draft and file a complaint in the correct court, citing the amount of damages you are seeking. Sign everything and make copies. If you were asking for an amount less than $50,000, you would be required to go through dispute resolution first, but if you are asking for punitive damages that won’t be an option.
  3. Send a summons to the other party.
  4. If the other party responds, you will need to respond quickly. Otherwise, prepare for trial and comply with the rules of discovery.
  5. Go to court and present your case to a judge or jury.

When you are the victim of a breach of contract, you only have a limited amount of time to bring a civil suit. There may be other reasons related to the contract that also make it urgent to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. If you contact a business attorney, you can learn your various options and how they might play out for your case.

Corporate Formation | How To Register A Business in Arizona

Congratulations on making the decision to start your own business! This exciting process takes much planning and requires attention to detail, especially in the beginning stages. There are rules and regulations that need to be followed within the state of Arizona.

As an entrepreneur, you will need to decide if you want to start a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or a corporation. Regardless of the type of business you wish to start, it’s important to build a strong foundation and obtain necessary licenses and permits.

Enlisting the help of an attorney for your business startup is a wise investment as it will take a lot of stress off your shoulders and ensure the startup of your business is being done right. A few benefits of doing so is you won’t have to spend time learning the legal process. Also, a legal representative will be able to help to trademark your entity name, and they understand how to fill out forms and documents correctly.

If you are considering a sole proprietorship, which is the simplest form of business, you won’t really need an attorney as you’re not required to register your business with the state of Arizona. However, for partnerships and LLCs as a business owner, you must register with the state, meaning that documents need to be prepared and specific steps need to be taken.

If you’re thinking about starting an LLC or Limited Liability Company, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will walk you step by step in the startup process for an LLC business in Arizona.

1. Decide on a Name

What type of business are you thinking of starting? Be sure you revolve the name of your company around the type of work that will be done. Keep it simple, yet creative. This will make it easy for potential clients to reach you.

There are some additional factors you want to keep in mind when choosing a name. For instance, if you are starting an LLC business, your entity name must contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC” within it. There also are restricted words such as an “attorney,” “bank,” or “university” that you need to be aware of.

Additionally, there is nothing worse than coming up with the perfect name and finding it has already been taken by another entity. We suggest conducting a name search to ensure it’s available and ready to use. Along with this, you want to be sure the URL is available so that you can purchase your domain name. The sooner you do so, the less the chances of someone else acquiring the name you want.

If this process seems too overwhelming for you, we recommend hiring a business litigation attorney who can help throughout the entire process of starting your own business. They understand what words are prohibited and could cause harm to your business. If you are set on a specific work, they understand the additional paperwork that is required to create your desired name.

2. Hire a Registered Agent

In the state of Arizona, it is required to choose a registered agent for your LLC. Also known as a statutory agent, this is a person or business who agrees to act on behalf of your LLC business by sending and receiving legal papers. This step is extremely important to be prepared in the case any legal action. Once you’ve chosen a reputable agent, it’s time to file the articles of organization which can be done online, by mail, or in person.

3. Notice of Organization

As a newly formed LLC, you are required to publish a notice of LLC formation for three consecutive weeks, unless the location of your business is in Maricopa or Pima County. If it is in any other county, this notice needs to be published in an approved newspaper within the county of the LLC’s principal office. The process of doing so is simple.

After filing the articles of organization, you will receive information on the next steps. Keep in mind that failure to comply with this requirement will result in the termination of your LLC, so you want to be sure you are well prepared and informed. We would like to add that while it is not required, it’s a good idea to create an operating agreement. This is a legal document that outlines the ownership and operating procedures of your LLC.

4. Receive an EIN

Finally, after all the steps above have been completed, it’s time to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is also sometimes called a TIN, short for federal Tax Identification number, and its purpose is to identify your business entity. An EIN is needed when filing state and federal taxes. It’s also required by some banks when opening a business account. You can apply for an EIN from the IRS at no charge online or by mail.

Request a Consultation

We hope our guide has made you more aware of how to start a business in Arizona. Cronus Law PLLC is proud to assist small to medium-sized businesses in the handling of complex litigation situations. Our attorneys and paralegals are highly qualified and trained to protect the rights of your business and minimize the risks. We look forward to representing you, your interests, and your business with our utmost capability.

Serving Phoenix, AZ and surrounding cities, we guarantee you haven’t met a legal team like ours. Cronus Law is made up of skillful lawyers and paralegals who have what it takes to achieve the best possible outcomes. Every single one of our lawyers has several years of experience on both the state and federal level.

We would like to add that we do not limit our services strictly to residents of Arizona. We will gladly serve individuals and businesses of other states. For any questions, comments or concerns, we invite you to contact us today. We can arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys if needed to better assist you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Getting a Fiancé visa!

Recently got engaged and want your spouse to immigrate to the U.S. so that you can start building your life together as a married couple? Here is how you do it!

What is a Fiancé Visa?

If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States in order to get married, you will need to file a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e). This is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé(e). The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as a fiancé(e) visa.

What does the filing process entail?

You need to file the following with the USCIS:

  • Duly completed Form I-129;
  • Proof that you and your fiancé(e) intend to marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e); entering the U.S. as a K-1 non-immigrant;
  • Bona-fides of the relationship/engagement period to show its not for an immigration benefit.

After the paperwork is filed with the USCIS, the following steps follow:

  • Once the petition is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC), which is run by the U.S. State Department, assigns a case number and forwards your paperwork to the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to where the foreign fiancé lives.
  • The foreign fiancé completes a visa application (Form DS-160), submits it online (or according to the local consulate’s instructions), and pays the visa fee.
  • The foreign fiancé goes to an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, and presents any requested documents during the interview.
  • The foreign fiancé gets a visa stamp in his or her passport and uses it to enter the United States within six months.
  • The couple gets married within 90 days and files a green card application.

Fiancé visa can also be applied for a spouse of a U.S. Citizen. This is the first step for your spouse and his or her children to obtain a visa to come to the United States while you wait for USCIS to make a decision on the Form I-130. This is also known as K3 visa. To know more please visit us at our website.

Applying for a Legal Permanent Residency/ Green Card for a spouse of a U.S. Citizen

If you just got married to a non-U.S. citizen who is currently staying or living in the U.S., your marriage may qualify your spouse for a green card/ legal permanent residency immediately if you’re a U.S Citizen.

Initial process requires a filling of Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) along with supporting evidence. The end process is called Adjustment of Status (I-485). These processes can be divided into three major steps.

Step 1: Is your spouse eligible to apply?

Marriage to a U.S. citizen makes your spouse what is known as an “immediate relative,” and eligible for a U.S. green card just as soon as you can get through the application process. Additionally, you must prove that your relationship is “bona fide,” that is, that the relationship is real and not just entered into for immigration purposes. To prove the bona fide nature of the marriage, several factors are taken into consideration including but not limited to relationship ties, family and friends, children, cohabitation, joint accounts etc. The following evidence is needed while filing a I-130.

Step 2: Could the spouse adjust within the U.S. or would need a consular process?

Depending upon your current status, the process can go either way.

If you entered the United States illegally, you will need to do waiver for your unlawful presence or other inadmissibility (if any), depending on your situation and apply for consular process. The consular process involves your spouse going outside the United States and coming back in with an immigrant visa.

On the other hand, if you entered the United States legally on a visa or entered on a visa then overstayed on your visa, you will still be able to apply for adjustment within the U.S provided you do not have any inadmissibility issues.

Step 3: The interview, when you apply for adjustment within the U.S.

After your application is processed by USCIS and the immigrating spouse has attended a fingerprinting appointment, you will both have to attend an AOS interview. You can also hire an attorney to represent you during this interview.

USCIS will send instructions on what to bring to this interview. Be sure to bring a well-chosen selection of documents (copies and originals) proving that your marriage is the real thing and that you are sharing a life together. For example, joint bank statements, a mortgage or apartment lease in both your names, wedding photos, and children’s birth certificates are all good forms of evidence.

The USCIS officer will ask about basic information in your application, and ask various questions about your marriage. If the officer is satisfied with your application and answers, he will approve your petition.

Adjustment of Status is a complex process, so be sure to talk to an immigration attorney before you apply.