Articles Posted in Breach of Contract

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Handshake deals (known as “oral contracts” in the legal industry) have long thrived in Hollywood. If, for example, an agent agrees to represent an artist in exchange for a percentage of that artist’s income (known as a contingent fee), that agreement would be considered binding even without a written contract. Whether the same can be said of attorneys seeking a percentage fee was recently up for debate in Johnny Depp’s lawsuit against his former attorney, Jake Bloom.

The dispute began last fall when Depp sued Bloom for allegedly collecting more than $30 million in fees, despite the absence of a proper contract. Bloom countersued Depp for breach of contract, citing their 1999 handshake deal. Depp’s attorneys pointed out that California law does not recognize oral contracts, but Bloom’s attorneys maintained that the contract was ratified when Depp continued to accept legal services. Moreover, they pointed out that Depp continued to accept legal counsel from Bloom and his firm after settling his lawsuit with his former management company – a lawsuit that included allegations that the company had failed to maintain proper written agreements.

This last point Judge Terry Green found to be a point in favor of (rather than against) the need to maintain written contracts. Continue reading

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Most people associate Fuji and Xerox with an office setting involving photocopying and printing. If you go to their website at: https://www.fujixerox.com They advertise smart work innovation that liberates from Restraints with an open professional expertise.  These are work aspects that most professionals want to aspire to be a part of and probably one of the reasons why they have taken off in the US market.

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd., is a joint venture partnership between Fujifilm Holdings and Xerox, both being document related services.  Operating out of Tokyo, it was set to be one of the most powerful alliances held between the Japanese and Americans. Continue reading

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Storms weather and can bring about the best and worst in people.  When damage occurs, the test of resilience, character, friendship and trust are all evaluated.  The process is not any easier when there is an Insurance company that one has to deal with and when there is the lurking possibility that they are handling thousands of claims at the same time.  All damages are subject to scrutiny, including the damage that takes place after storms.  Disputes arise in the context of property damage and to its extent. This firm is willing to assist as an All-American firm working for its citizens.  In the doing of so, we write and will consider assistance via phone if necessary.  Not all are easily able to navigate as emotions such as shock are still being overcome.

The competing interests that an insured and insurer have in the filing of a claim also makes it more painstakingly difficult.  Some perceive the insurance claims process as adversarial.  The insurance representative cannot guide to what is best in representation on the matter. This is since Insurance companies appear to be in a Business.  As such, the expectation to be fairly compensated is questionable.  While many pay on time and premiums it does not mean that what you give is what you will get back.  At times, adjusters may become overwhelmed in working on multiple cases that are catastrophic in nature and make mistakes or overlook damage.   That is why having an attorney best helps.   For those reasons, we have compiled a list of items that should be attended prior to discussing a case with an attorney or Insurance company.

Please ensure compliance with the following:

  1. By making a timely reporting of claim, as a failure to do so may result in its denial. This can normally be done via phone or online.  The claims process normally begins at this point: initial contact with the insurance company, an evaluation of your claim, negotiations, and a resolution/settlement.  At this point, an adjuster is normally assigned.
  2. Documentation of all video and photos of the damage, if possible.  It would even be better if those included prior and after.  Possible electronic receipts of any purchases made.
  1. The obtaining of independent quotes by contractor receipts in putting a price on the extent of the loss.  These may be challenged or questioned by the Insurance company, but are a good start and utilizing them may assist you in deciding whom you wish to use for the final repair.  Sometimes, supplements are required for damage that is hidden.  If disputed, the burden of proof can then move from the insurance company to the insured if the contractor estimate does not reflect the true damage sustained.

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Patent licenses can mark the beginning of a fruitful relationship for both the patent owner and the licensee, but patent owners that focus only on the instant deal, waste time trying to pocket a little more money and draft a vague agreement may wind up going from the bargaining table to the courtroom.

Just recently, a major technology group involved in the production of cell phones has dropped two patent infringement lawsuits based on a new patent license agreement that has been entered into which continues the making of payments from the one company to the other.  At the time of the dispute, it was alleged that multiple patents were being used without permission and the patent pertained to the proprietary technology in commercial mobile devices.

The agreement has an ongoing agreement between the companies, so as to ensure that the payments do not stop.  Settlement was contingent upon withdrawal of litigation and the reaching of terms by which both parties could agree.  The financial structure of the terms ensured that this would be the case.   As the terms were reached privately, it was a matter of complete confidentiality.  The fact that this occurred, perhaps, changes the way in which other litigation can be viewed.  Attorneys may now suggest that new terms of agreement be reached prior to even filing suit, unless, of course, sometimes filing suit becomes strategy to bring an opposing party to settlement terms when a compromise situation seems unlikely.  Continue reading

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In an age where people are paying and utilizing services online, a certain standard which is regulated by law and expected by clientele needs to be met.  That is why when a man from Illinois has decided to sue an online service for paying monthly fees for a service which he is claiming had multiple inactive or dead profile accounts.

In the complaint which is filed in a Federal Court, the service repeatedly asked him pay between $9.99 and $19.99 per month to connect with users who “liked” his profile after the creation of a free account, upon which, he immediately began receiving messages from other users who had supposedly liked his profile. To learn the identities of those who had liked his account, however, the plaintiff was prompted to pay for a premium, or “A-List,” service. The plaintiff alleges that right after the payment of $44.99, he knew something was amiss. Shortly thereafter, upon reviewing the profiles of individuals whose identities were previously hidden, the plaintiff allegedly discovered that most if not all of these people were associated with inactive or ‘dead’ accounts, making interaction or dating impossible.

It is alleged that the actions constitute a breach of contract and violate both the Illinois Dating Referral Services Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act with potential to seek class-action status. Continue reading

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Producers are often viewed by the public as greedy opportunists who do little more than mooch off their artists, who are perceived as being ones who do the “real work.” But Quincy Jones, who produced some of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, is now saying he was cheated out of millions of dollars he says the pop star’s estate owes him.

This is coming from a man who has already made millions off music and videos created by the music icon. Attorneys for Jackson’s estate tried to paint Jones as just another money grabber out for all he can get, but Jones and his attorneys painted a different picture. They accused the Jackson estate of deliberately misinterpreting the language of the contracts to avoid paying Jones his share of the profits. Continue reading

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If a new musical was a hit in places like Vienna, but can’t get the funding to start on Broadway, is it fair to assume it’s the fault of the producers or the publicist? Or is it just another case of bad luck in a notoriously difficult industry?

Producers Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza poured millions into getting their new musical, “Rebecca,” on the Broadway stage, but it looks now as if that will never happen.

The ill-fated musical, based on the gothic novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, first started experiencing problems when the producers put their faith in Mark C. Hutton, a stockbroker who promised Sprecher and Forlenza he would deliver investors. After Hutton claimed to have investors who would put $4.5 million into the project, the producers moved forward with their planning of the show without ever meeting any of the investors Hutton said he had lined up. Hutton then sent them a message saying one of the investors had died and all the money had been lost. It later came to light that none of the investors had ever actually existed and Hutton was arrested for committing fraud. Continue reading

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Breach of Employment Contract (Non-Renewal Option): Assaf v. Trinity Med. Ctr., 696 F.3d 681, 685-86 (7th Cir. 2012)

As the Seventh Circuit articulated in Assaf v. Trinity Med. Ctr., 696 F.3d 681, (7th Cir. 2012), Illinois forbids a party in material breach of a contract from taking advantage of terms in that contract which benefit him. The Seventh Circuit stated: “the simple rationale behind the Illinois rule, a classic rule of contract law, is that a party should be prevented from benefitting from its own breach.” Assaf v. Trinity Med. Ctr., 696 F.3d 681, 686 (7th Cir. 2012).

In Assaf, the plaintiff-appellant, Dr. Bassam Assaf was terminated from his position as director of the epilepsy clinic at Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, Illinois. Dr. Assaf then sued Trinity in Illinois state court. The case was removed from state court to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Continue reading

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Any time a professional athlete’s name or likeness is used, there is usually money to be made. This is particularly true when a group of athletes have succeeded in making something very specific famous. The problem with using the athlete’s name or likeness in order to make money is the fact that the athlete is the sole owner. Therefore, any time that the likeness or name are used, the athlete must be informed and given a share of the profits.

Even those of us who are not football fans have probably at least heard of the “Super Bowl Shuffle”. It was a music video created by the six members of the 1985 Chicago Bears, also known as the “Shufflin’ Crew”. Now those members have filed a lawsuit claiming that the music video, which they say was intended to help families in need, has been used for non-charitable purposes without their permission.

The lawsuit alleges that the Super Bowl Shuffle rights owner, Julia Meyer, and Renaissance Marketing Corp., Meyer’s agent,” have marketed, distributed and sold licenses relating to the Super Bowl Shuffle Crew members’ identities, images, names, photographs, likenesses, voices and performances in the Super Bowl Shuffle without the Shufflin’ Crew’s permission.” The lawsuit further alleges that, since Red Label Records assigned its interest in the shuffle to Meyer’s husband in 1986, the defendants have benefited financially from the Super Bowl Shuffle without the consent of the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed in Chicago on behalf of the six members of the “Shufflin’ Crew”, Richard Dent, Steve Fuller, Willie Gault, Jim McMahon, Mike Richardson, and Otis Wilson. However, Gault was the one who discovered that the music video was allegedly being misused and alerted the other members of the “Shufflin’ Crew” and now it looks like he might be the main plaintiff in the case. “I certainly put my name into [the lawsuit] because they made a whole lot of money off of us,” Wilson said in a statement. “Now that things are coming to light, I left it up to Willie to handle it. So I am 100 percent behind him. For my opinion, they used us and they made a lot of money and now is the time to pay up.”

Walid Tamari, a Chicago-based attorney who is representing the athletes in the current lawsuit, said that “The lawsuit provides that an important, and stated, objective of the Super Bowl Shuffle when it was produced in 1985, was to give back to Chicago’s neediest families”.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants allegedly either failed or refused to inform the members of the “Shufflin’ Crew” of the revenue that they had been receiving from manufacturing, advertising, sales, licensing and merchandising of the Super Bowl Shuffle. The lawsuit also alleges that the former football stars were also not made aware of the financial benefits received from the use of their likenesses, names, voices and performances, both in and out of the shuffle.
In order to ensure that something like this does not happen again, the lawsuit is seeking, among other things, the establishment of a constructive trust for charitable purposes that they select in order to continue the Super Bowl Shuffle’s charitable objective.

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A federal judge denied most of a motion to dismiss brought by multiple banks in a consolidated case alleging overdraft fee fraud. In re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 694 F.Supp.2d 1302 (S.D. Fla. 2010). The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated multiple claims into a single matter in the Southern District of Florida in order to deal efficiently with common pretrial matters. The plaintiffs asserted causes of action for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (“GFFD covenant”), and many individual causes asserted common law breach of contract claims and state law consumer protection claims. The defendants filed an omnibus motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted in part and denied in larger part. The court dismissed claims under certain state consumer statutes, as well as claims based on the laws of states in which no plaintiffs lived.

The central issue of the litigation was the ordering of ATM transactions from highest to lowest, regardless of the order in which the account holder performed the transaction. This allegedly reduced the account holder’s total account balance more quickly, garnering more overdraft fees for the defendants. At the time the court rendered its order on the omnibus motion to dismiss, the litigation consisted of fifteen separate complaints, each brought against an individual bank. All of the fifteen complaints pending at the time of the court’s order involved breach of GFFD covenant claims. Five complaints were filed in California as putative class actions on behalf of California customers. Eight complaints were filed outside California, putatively on behalf of nationwide classes excluding California. One complaint was filed by a California resident and sought to represent a nationwide class. The final complaint was filed by a Washington resident on behalf of a class of Washington customers. According to the JPML, the consolidated litigation has involved one hundred separate complaints since 2009, with forty-four still involved as of March 5, 2013.

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