Klein & Wilson

Newport Beach California Business Litigation Law Blog

Know your options after a breach of fiduciary duty

When you work with professionals, you expect to receive competent service from someone who adheres to all reasonable standards for the field. Whether it's a real estate agent whom you asked to help secure a new office location for your business or an investment professional entrusted with the retirement funds of your staff, you need to know that the professional has your best interests in mind.

Although most professionals in critical positions comport themselves ethically, there are some people who do not. Encountering a professional willing to breach fiduciary duty can cost your business a lot of money and could even damage your reputation if it impacts your ability to complete projects or fulfill contracts.

What are four types contract breaches?

As a Newport Beach area business owner, you know that contracts are essential when procuring and rendering services and purchasing goods from vendors. Contracts set the terms and expectations for all involved parties. They also allow you to have realistic expectations about your business dealings. When one of the parties you hire do not honor their responsibilities and obligations, you might find yourself dealing with a breach of contract.

Contract breaches are very common in the business world. There are a variety of reasons for their occurrence. Regardless of what those reasons are, it is beneficial for you to know what kind of breach you are dealing with to pursue the right resolution tactics. 

5 business to business contract mistakes to avoid

When parties enter into a contractual agreement, they expect all parties to make good on their commitment to honor the contract. But often contracts are hastily written and do not properly address future concerns. Addressing these issues during the drafting and negotiating process will help avoid costly litigation and increase the chance of a favorable verdict or settlement if you must go to court.

What it takes to be a legal malpractice lawyer

It takes a specific set of skills and characteristics to find success in a legal malpractice case. First, there are California state requirements for the right to practice this area of law, and then there are the personality traits most attorneys in the field share. Klein & Wilson is composed of many legal professionals, and we each have a unique focus or set of skills that we bring to the table a legal malpractice case.

Even if we would want to do so, we could not simply declare that we practice a certain area of law: Before an attorney begins to practice specialist law, such as legal malpractice, he or she must often take additional examinations and perform other certifying tasks. The State Bar of California lists all of the technical requirements to hold a certificate to practice this area of law:

  • Active and legitimate practice in the state
  • Sufficient experience, educational background and work history
  • Continuing education specific to legal malpractice
  • Evidence of a good reputation
  • Periodic recertification as required

Lessons learned from famous contract disputes

Most California business owners would like to skip contract disputes if that were possible. Unfortunately, it is not always. 

Famous disagreements end up in national news at times, including the case from a few years back when Martha Stewart had to appear in court to settle a dispute about her contract with retail giant Macy's. Her company had agreed to an exclusive contract on some products Macy's would sell. Others appeared on rival J.C. Penney's shelves, and Macy's suggested Martha Stewart had violated the contract.

How do you work through a dispute between business partners?

Arguing with your business partner in California could have some serious consequences for everyone involved-- from you and your partner to corollary stakeholders, such as investors and employees. At Klein & Wilson, we know that litigation is always in the back of business owners' minds when disagreements come up as to the meaning of a contract, ethical standards or even simple policy decisions.

We are by no means reticent to take things to the courtroom if necessary, but we often urge our clients to take every step possible before pursuing a business law issue formally. This typically means jointly developing a de-escalation plan with our client, ideally bringing the other parties to the table during the process. Unfortunately, the opposing partner is not always willing to see past personal issues and focus on our discussion of the business. We tend to proceed to litigation only if it seems we must go to court to end the partner dispute satisfactorily.

Legal remedies available after a breach of contract

Running a business means operating as a dependable part of a complicated ecosystem with many other parties, such as suppliers, service providers, enforcement agencies, customers, and employees or subcontractors.

In many cases, each of these relationships relies on contracts to establish the expectations each party has for the other, and the remedies that one party may seek if another party does not uphold the terms of the agreement. When one party does breach the terms of a contract, it is necessary to examine the nature of the breach and determine an appropriate response that considers both the terms of the contract and the feasibility of enforcing the contract's terms.

Indicators of possible legal malpractice

It's frustrating to think that an attorney your company pays for representation would act in a way that does not serve the firm's best interests. Unfortunately, it happens. Businesses in California and across the country face this kind of risk every day. Violations of trust can occur in any number of ways – overbilling for services, a conflict of interest, or breach of fiduciary duty.

In one recent case outside of California, the claim made by plaintiffs of a family held company was that an attorney hired to draft an operating agreement in connection with a firm management dispute. Because of the actions he took, plaintiffs alleged that he helped a corporate manager in a scheme that saw the manager secretly pay himself $1.5 million. That manager, who happened to be a member of the family, then left the company.

What you should know about settlement conferences

Despite what they may say about litigation, companies do not want to be dragged kicking and screaming to into lawsuits; especially when they believe that the suit is an organized form of bullying or exploitation. Nevertheless, in today’s business climate, this tends to happen; and if it happens to your business, it is helpful to be prepared for the process.

Indeed, having a good attorney is part of being prepared, but knowing how the process works, especially in terms of settlement conferences is key. This post will highlight a few do’s and don’ts for settlement conferences with the court. 

Is the marijuana injury poised for growth?

The stock market took a beating last week. It appears that fears of a burgeoning economy may lead to interest rate hikes. This effectively led to the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing a considerable amount of points this week. This week’s losses mark a third consecutive week where value has been lost. It appears that the gains realized from the beginning of the year have been wiped out.

If there is one industry that is definitely gaining steam, it is the marijuana industry. With California allowing recreational use and additional states considering such laws, more businesses and entrepreneurs are entering the “pot marketplace.” Indeed, not everyone is growing their own form of marijuana and hoping to cash in on the popularity. After all, growing marijuana is highly regulated and only a few are able to enter the field in this manner. 

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  5. KLEIN & WILSON | RECOGNIZED BY | Best Lawyers | 2017
  6. AMERICA'S TOP 100 | TOP 100 | ATTORNEYS
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  8. AVVO Client's Choice | Award 2017
  9. OCTLA | Orange County | Trial Lawyers Association | Trial Lawyer Of The Year
  10. The National Trial Lawyers | Top 40 Under 40

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Klein & Wilson
4770 Von Karman Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Phone: 949-478-0521
Fax: 949-631-3703
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