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lwpat
lwpat, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 25386
Experience:  Attorney with over 35 years of business experience.
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I have a question regarding a business agreement, with a threat

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I have a question regarding a business agreement, with a threat of lawsuit.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  lwpat replied 7 years ago.
I can assist you. Please post your question and provide the details.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
In August 2008 we signed a work agreement between us, with one witness co-signing it. The agreement was for me to build a program in this doctor's veterinary hospital. In the agreement, the owner committed to paying me $10,000 a month for 12 months. I, in return, committed to spend all the necessary time to produce new program and to then train the staff on it. I also committed that if the practice did not make more money than the previous year, to return the owner of the practice the difference in his payment. The issue is that he only paid me the full fee once. The rest of the time he either paid me little money or skipped entire months. I spent many hundreds of hours at his practice and at home, building this program for him. In February 2009 he embarked on a campaign to sell some new equipment to other veterinarians. He asked me to help him. I said I would, for no charge, if he paid me what he owed me. He agreed, and paid me some more. Then, however, in May 2009, he told me he was not going to pay me anymore and that I can do whatever I wanted to do; stay or leave. I was shocked hearing this and told him I cannot continue investing countless hours building this program for him if he doesn't pay me. To this he said, "then leave". The program was supposed to last 1 year. He basically refused to pay me 3+ months before it ended. I left a lot of useful and proprietary material in his practice which he can use to increase his revenue.
I recently got a letter from him demanding that I return him all the money he had paid me. I dispute this for a number of reasons:
1. He did not fulfill his part of the agreement.
2. He sent me away before the program ended, thus depriving me from being able to complete it.
3. I created and gave him a huge amount of material that he has been using to his advantage.
4. Withholding payments throughout the time I spent in his practice severely affected my ability to perform my knowledge to the maximum, thus depriving me from achieving my (our) goals.
5. He intends to sell his practice soon. His practice is not profitable. The program I left him can and will make his practice profitable so he can make more money when he sells it.
6. The program I created for him will continue improving results in his practice for years to come.
7. Terminating our relationship before the completion of the program was not stipulated in the agreement and prevented me from completing it.

He threatens to sue me and I need your help.
Expert:  lwpat replied 7 years ago.
If he did not fulfill the agreement then you need to be proactive and sue him before he sues you. I had much rather be the Plaintiff than the Defendant. The agreement is an enforceable contract since it is signed by both parties. I don't know why you continued when you did not get paid, that is a real problem with your claim. The other problem is that it is unlikely that any attorney is going to take the case without a substantial retainer since any recovery is highly speculative and it will take a lot of time and effort.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for you reply. The reason I stayed was because I hoped he would eventually fulfill his part of the agreement. Also, as I invested so much time working in his practice and on the program, I did not have time to work on other big projects. In a way, I painted myself into a corner with him controlling a big part of my income. In other words, I was afraid to lose the rest of his promised payment. That's why I stayed.
On one hand you say I should sue him before he sues me. On the other hand you say you doubt anyone will take the case. Where does that leave me?
Expert:  lwpat replied 7 years ago.
Unfortunately it leaves you between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Sometimes there are just no easy answers, especially if you do not have the money to obtain all the justice you can afford. You can either retain an attorney and sue or wait and see if he is willing to pay a retainer fee to sue you. Those are really your only too choices.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks again for your answer.
He has retained his attorney and for now is threatening to sue me. His attorney is expecting some kind of answer from me. Should I write a letter explaining how I see the deal? Would my letter, if not viewed by an attorney, undermine my position? What would you suggest?
Expert:  lwpat replied 7 years ago.
I would not answer in any way. If you feel that you should answer, retain an attorney and let him do any answer.
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