What is a Business Tort? Business Torts Defined With Examples

Has your business been financially damaged or otherwise negatively affected by the wrongful conduct of another party?

Torts are civil (as opposed to criminal) wrongs or wrongful acts, whether intentional or accidental, that cause injury to another. Business tort law provides businesses that have experienced financial harm a legal process to seek financial restitution.

While the circumstances surrounding business tort cases may vary—e.g., from a disgruntled employee to an aggressive industry competitor—tort law exists to address the damage caused and identify the appropriate remedies that may be available to help the injured party recover.

Business Tort Examples

You may seek legal intervention through business tort law in a variety of circumstances, such as:

  • Breach of trust or being wronged by a business partner
  • Misappropriation of intellectual property or trade secrets
  • Breach of confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements
  • Infringement of a trademark or trade name
  • Breach of a fiduciary treaty
  • False advertising
  • Whistleblower cases, i.e. helping a whistleblower take appropriate action against a business without fear of retaliation
  • Tortious interference with a business expectancy or contract
  • Any other tort issue appropriate for legal action that has threatened the health or future of a business’s prospects.

Identifying and protecting your rights in cases of a business tort is paramount, and not an issue that should be taken lightly. No matter the severity of the wrongful act, it is important to seek the assistance of a competent Phoenix business tort attorney to fight for the future of your business.

Take Legal Action—Cronus Law PLLC

The complexity of business tort litigation cases varies, but in all cases, it is imperative for businesses to seek legal representation from a qualified law firm that offers a high level of experience in tort law.

Cronus Law PLLC has a highly-qualified and successful business tort practice. Our attorneys are experienced in handling these disputes and fully-committed to providing efficient legal representation for businesses in tort litigation. Our Phoenix business tort attorneys have extensive experience navigating the relevant rules, standards, and regulations in these cases, as well as a keen understanding of the admissibility of evidence. Cronus Law attorneys strive to effectively identify the most-appropriate remedies available and propose creative solutions to your problems.

Our legal team is thorough and will support you through all the stages of your case. Your Cronus Law attorney will provide clear, plain English explanations of court filings, the issues presented in your case, and offer practical advice to prevent future disputes.

Cronus Law takes the quality and efficiency of your legal representation seriously, and the tort litigation attorneys at Cronus Law can offer you:

  • Excellent judgment, attention to detail, and clear attorney-client communication;
  • Aggressive and comprehensive legal strategy, customized to achieve the desired result;
  • Competency in assessing, communicating, and navigating complex tort litigation cases; and
  • Provide innovative yet practical solutions to meet the needs of your case, including seeking provisional remedies before filing a lawsuit.

Request a Consultation

The qualified business tort practice within Cronus Law has the knowledge and experience you are looking for to effectively address and discuss your legal options within a tort litigation.

Contact our legal team today to request a consultation with a skilled Phoenix business tort attorney.

The 4 Elements of a Breach of Contract Claim

At first thought, defining a breach of contract seems simple. You can define breach as breaking, and you can define contract as an agreement between two or more parties. Therefore, a breach of contract is essentially the breaking of an agreement between at least two different parties.

In order to qualify as a claim for breach of contract in a court of law, you must prove a number of qualifications. First, you need to prove that there is an enforceable contract. Thereafter, you must prove the remaining elements to a breach of contract claim.

Burden of Proof

Contract law is decided in civil courts–as opposed to criminal courts–so the elements must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. While a criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil case only requires that you prove your claim is more likely to be true than not true. In other words, there must be a 51% chance that you are right.

The evidence you present needs to be convincing, truthful, and accurate, but you only have to prove that your side of the story is more believable than not. It isn’t the amount of evidence that matters but how convincing the evidence is.

The Elements of a Breach of Contract Claim

You need to prove all four of these elements to win your case. So, the easiest thing to do is go through them and evaluate whether you can prove them all.

1. Prove the Existence of a Contract

You must prove that you have a contract. A signed piece of paper, oral agreement, or a handshake may, or may not, be enough. For the courts to determine whether your contract is valid, they must be shown there was (1) an offer, (2) an acceptance of the offer, and (3) consideration was given in exchange for accepting the offer.

  1. Offer: One or more of the parties must make an offer such as, “I will mow your yard for $20.” In this case, the offer is for services, i.e. mowing the lawn. If one party offers to mow the lawn, without asking for anything, this might be construed as a gift rather than a contract.
  2. Acceptance: The other party can agree to the terms of the offer or make a counteroffer such as, “I will let you mow my yard, but I will only pay you $15.” By making a counteroffer, the original offer was not accepted and is now off the table. The offer was replaced by the counteroffer. At this point, either party can still walk away.
  3. Consideration: The consideration is the benefit each party receives. In this case, the consideration is money on one side and the lawn mowing service on the other.

There are also other considerations. Arizona has enacted the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) to protect consumers by providing a general set of rules that apply in most U.S. states. The UCC applies to most transactions dealing with moveable property–i.e. not real estate–even if the property is manufactured in state A, distributed in state B, and sold in state C. This provides extra protection, especially because consumers may be naive when dealing with legal matters. Sometimes the only experience people have with courts is when they’re in trouble, but the courts recognize that every party has rights.

2. Prove That You Performed Your Obligations or That You Have a Legitimate Reason for Not Performing

In this context, performance means “substantial” performance. In other words, the details of the contract may not have been carried out exactly, but the defendant received substantially what was asked for. At that point, the defendant should be required to pay.

If the contract wasn’t performed exactly as agreed, then you may not be required to fully perform your obligations; however, generally you should not refuse to pay anything. For example, if a handyman agreed to paint your house but the color seemed off, you might ask to pay less. You generally would not be allowed to not pay anything unless the color was an extremely important term in the contract.man painting house interior

3. Prove the Other Party Failed to Perform Their Part of the Contract

The defendant can’t argue that payment isn’t required because of any fault on his part. For instance, if you agree to perform certain tasks and then the defendant makes it impossible for you to finish, that would not be your fault. If you substantially comply, then you are meeting your requirements.

4. Prove the Other Party’s Failure to Perform Caused Damages

This sounds straightforward because this is where you say that you didn’t receive what you were promised. Your contract should specify exactly what each party promised. Whether there is a breach of contract may depend on how well the contract was prepared. It is often helpful to have an attorney review your contracts before you enter into an agreement. If you prevail in a breach of contract case, you can also ask the court to award your attorneys’ fees and costs of filing the lawsuit.

Ask a Lawyer

If you think you may be a victim of breach of contract in Arizona, then we recommend that you immediately speak with an attorney. There is a limited amount of time to make your claim.

Cronus Law PLLC proudly serves residents, families, and businesses all across Arizona. We help our clients with many kinds of legal issues, including contract claims. Call today so we can discuss your case.

Arizona Franchise Law (What You Need To Know) | Cronus Law

When business is going well, many business owners seek to expand into franchising. Whether you’re the business owner who wants to do this, or a business-inclined individual who wants to purchase a franchise of an existing business, having a franchise law attorney is the right first step. There will be documentation needed, and legal representation is a powerful way to start on the right track.

The Difference Between Franchisor and Franchisee

The franchisor is the person or entity who’s trusting someone by giving them the rights to certain aspects of their business. They’ve either created or built up the business, and now they are ready to expand. In many cases, this is a very lucrative choice for the franchisor as they’ll receive royalties from this scenario.

The franchisee is the person or entity agreeing to expand the business. They purchase certain aspects of the franchise by way of specific legal agreements, and they benefit from the profits by complying to specific requirements, rules, and regulations. Usually, the franchisee and franchisor have a continuous relationship throughout the life of the franchise.

The Process

Before any of the above can be put in place, legal requirements must be met. This is where your franchise law attorney comes in. Franchise Disclosure Documents (or FDDs) are the documents that the franchisor gives a franchisee for review. It’s extensive, complex, and contains crucial legalities and provisions.

Although it can be a daunting document, it’s important that people who consider starting or expanding a franchise review them. Your franchise attorney can help you understand the document, clarify and explain certain clauses.

How Cronus Law PLLC Can Help

At Cronus Law, a Phoenix, Arizona franchise attorney firm, we understand that you want to run your franchise right. We can review your FDDs with you and all other franchise documents.

We can also help you with the documentation required to start or expand a franchise as the franchisor, or even transfer the franchise when it’s time if you decide to do so.

Additionally, if there’s ever a dispute, we’ll be there for you. We can guide you through the process and prepare the required documentation for you. We hope it never gets to this, but we’re prepared to protect your assets with knowledge and experience.

Expansion and Sale

If you are the franchisor and are ready to sell franchises to expand your business or simply to begin a different business venture, we can help. There are documents to prepare, and we’re well versed in helping you with this need. We give you the professional counsel you need to feel ready to make the right choice for your business.

Request a Consultation

To request a consultation with one of our Phoenix, Arizona franchise attorneys, send us an email at admin@cronuslaw.com, or call us Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p. m. at 480-467-3188. We look forward to helping you expand, start, or evaluate your franchise needs!

Partnership Disputes | Common Types With Examples

Forming a partnership is often a great way to strengthen your business, but, unfortunately, it can occasionally result in a complicated legal dispute. If one partner fails to honor their fiduciary duties, misuses funds, or breaches contract, it can put the entire business in jeopardy.

When a disagreement between partners becomes a complex legal issue, it’s time to call an attorney experienced in business law and partnership disputes specifically..

With our years of experience providing quality legal counsel to Arizona residents, you can trust the attorneys at Cronus Law to resolve your partnership dispute and protect your investment.

Common Types of Partnership Disputes

Partnership disputes are often complicated, with issues ranging from contract misunderstandings to outright theft. At Cronus Law, we’re experienced in a wide variety of cases concerning both general and limited partnerships. Our attorneys are skilled in matters of business finance and will help you better understand your unique situation and what options are available to you going forward.

Our Phoenix partnership disputes attorneys can assist you with the following issues and more:

  • Fraud
  • Breach of contract
  • Misappropriation of funds
  • Revealing confidential business information
  • Ownership rights disputes
  • Financial management disputes
  • Shareholder disputes

As a skilled full-service law firm, we are confident in our ability to handle partnership disputes of virtually any kind. We understand that each individual case is different, which is why we don’t believe in taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Your case will receive the attention that it deserves so that our attorneys can prepare the most persuasive case possible on your behalf.

Fast and Effective Case Resolution

Left unresolved, a serious partnership dispute can take both a financial and emotional toll on your business. It’s important to hire a Phoenix partnership disputes attorney who can handle your case in a timely manner so that it doesn’t hinder your company’s growth any longer.

We understand what’s at stake, especially for small and medium-sized business owners, which is why we focus on finding solutions outside of the courtroom first. In many cases, resolving your case through mediation is the most cost-effective time-saving option. But when an issue can only be resolved through legal action, you can rest assured that our attorneys will be ready to protect your rights and settle your case so that you can get back to running your business.

At the end of the day, our goals are simple—to protect your interests and get the results you want. Whether you’re bringing a claim against a fraudulent partner or need to defend yourself against such a claim, we will aggressively fight for your best interests every time.

Request a Consultation

Even the most carefully planned partnerships can fall through—when a disagreement turns into a legal dispute, seek legal counsel before things get out of hand.

When you need a Phoenix partnership disputes attorney, you can count on Cronus Law to provide the legal guidance you need to put your business back on track. Our attorneys have the right experience and the right skills to resolve your case quickly and effectively. To schedule a consultation, simply give us a call.

Legal Remedies For A Breach of Contract

Once you are able to prove that there was an enforceable contract and that the other party committed a breach of contract, you can start to consider the possible remedies. The main goal of the Court, when finding the best remedy for each case, is bringing the victim or injured party as close as possible to the position he or she would have been in if the other party hadn’t breached the contract.

The Court calls the resolution a remedy, and is allowed to find the best remedy in different ways and may even be creative. There are five basic types of relief available to victims of a breach of contract, with two different kinds of damages.

Compensatory vs Punitive Damages

The main goal of the courts is to make the damaged plaintiff whole again if there is an injury, but punitive damages are also available if there is a perceived need to punish the defendant.

Compensatory Damages

This is the most common kind of remedy awarded by the courts and is designed to compensate for losses the plaintiff incurred, that wouldn’t have been incurred if the contract hadn’t been breached.

The courts in these cases are only allowed to stick by the evidence presented and compensate the actual amount lost. If you only lost out on a small part of what was owed, the award must just be that small part.

Punitive Damages

Punitive or exemplary damages don’t have the same limits as compensatory damages. If the Court decides that the plaintiff in your case acted willfully, maliciously or fraudulently, you may be entitled to punitive damages.

A word of caution – punitive damages are rare in breach of contract cases, where damages are usually monetary. They are much more common in tort cases, where the wrongdoing resulted in personal harm to an individual or individuals. You may be able to receive punitive damages if you can prove the act was egregious, or the defendant knew how serious the harm would be.

Specific Kinds of Remedies for Breach of Contract

The Court has choices as to how to make the plaintiff whole. While most people only think of money when it comes to damages in a civil suit, the Court can also force the defendant to perform certain actions, or prohibit the defendant from performing certain actions.

Here are some of the specific kinds of remedies a Court has at its disposal:

Restitution

This remedy is specifically designed to restore the plaintiff to the state the plaintiff was in before entering into the contract. This method doesn’t address issues like profits the plaintiff might have been able to earn if the defendant followed through, or other kinds of losses that may have come after.

When a court orders restitution, it orders that whatever money or property the defendant received as part of the contract be returned. If, for instance, you paid $500 for a musical instrument but didn’t receive the instrument, the Court can order the defendant to give you your money back.

When the Court orders restitution in such a case, the contract can now be considered void. This is a remedy often uses when it turns out that the defendant is incompetent or incapacitated. This could happen if you discover the other party to the contract is a minor, and unable to enter into the contract, or if the defendant becomes permanently incapacitated due to permanent illness or injury.

Rescission

Rescission is considered an equitable remedy under law, and in these cases, the Court orders the original contract be rescinded, or taken back. The Court may decline to rescind the contract either one of the parties has affirmed the contract with an action or if rescinding the contract would harm a third party involved.

A plaintiff might ask a contract be rescinded because the defendant used coercion or undue influence, or because there was a mistake. Once the contract is rescinded, the parties will have to return anything they received as part of the contract.

Reformation

Like rescission, reformation is a remedy available to some parties when it turns out the contract was entered into based on fraud, undue influence, coercion or mistake. The difference between rescission and reformation is that in the case of reformation, the Court can change the substance or terms of the contract to make the terms more equitable for the injured party.

Specific Performance

Sometimes the best and most equitable remedy is for the Court to enforce the contract. This is an unusual solution, and the Court won’t usually consider this unless monetary damages would be inadequate.

Normally the Court will not try to force parties to commit actions against their will. There are some times when money is inadequate, such as when the contract was to buy a unique work of art. If the art piece is one-of-a-kind, the Court might order the defendant to follow through with the contract.

Are You a Victim of Breach of Contract?

In order to receive the remedy you deserve, you will need to convince the Court that the other party breached a valid contract and that there is a suitable remedy under law. If you have any questions or want help with your case, call Cronus Law PLLC. We offer full services for our Phoenix, AZ clients in several areas, including business law, real estate law and other areas dealing with contract law.

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.