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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
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We are here in the US on sabbatical and signed a contract with

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We are here in the US on sabbatical and signed a contract with a Jewish preschool for the attendance of our 3.5 year old twin girls. The main purpose of this trip was for our kids to learn English. The preschool states in its website that they provide a "Hebrew Rich environment" but that is all. Because we were somewhat concerned about what this means we called the preschool before the beginning of the school year and were told that most of the work is done in English. After we arrived we discovered that the preschool is actually bi-lingual - almost everything is repeated in both languages and the teachers actually converse in Hebrew. We raised our concerns a second time and again were told that we should not worry that the twins will learn English. We raised out concern for a third time a week after we signed the contract and were told that they understand our concerns but the contract binds us. Now, two months into the school year it is evident that the twins are not learning English at all, first because they have each other so do not have to make social contact with other kids (that are all Englsih speakers) and second, the staff responds to the Hebrew and converses with the group in both languages. The preschool still claims we are bound by the contract but is willing to let us out of it only if we pay tuition for one child through the year. We have two questions:
1. As it turns out only one of us signed the contract. Is the contrcat still binding?
2. Can we get out of the contrcat on the grounds that the information provided us regarding the language was either false or vague.

our emails isXXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To answer directly:
1. As it turns out only one of us signed the contract. Is the contrcat still binding?
Yes, but only against the person who actually signed the agreement. The other party is not bound by the terms. Plus, since the children began going to school, that is likewise treated as acceptance of terms because services by the other entity are now being provided.

2. Can we get out of the contrcat on the grounds that the information provided us regarding the language was either false or vague.
Potentially. You can claim that you were misled and were actively misrepresented the actual terms of how your children would be educated. But to prove that you would need actual evidence, such as written correspondence such as emails or terms in the agreement itself that would formally assure how the interaction would take place. If there are no such terms in writing, it would be pretty tough for you to prove that you were being misled in this instance.

I am sorry about that!
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Regarding item 1, we verbally voiced our concerns from the first day of school and formaly requested to leave just 7 days after school began. Does this change what is defined as our agreement of the conditions?


 


Can the fact that they did not state anywhere that the preschool is bilingual be considerd misleading?


 


What are the steps they can take if we just remove the twins and stop paying. We realy can not afford to pay double and are not willing to waste the year for the twins An importnat point is that they are not only failing to learn English, but the Hebrew is of course at a very low level menat for English speaking kids. So the botXXXXX XXXXXne is they will come out with nothing after a full year.


 


What would be the best way to go about this?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, David.

 

A verbal concern is not the same as a written condition. While you may have requested to be 'out' of the contract, if the contract has no such clause, you would be bound by the terms within the agreement. The fact they did not discuss language is not misleading I am afraid, it would simply not be considered a substantial term in their agreement. If you wanted this to be bilingual, the language in the agreement would have had to formally designate the service as such. If you stop paying they can take you to court for breach of contract and pursue a collection suit. They likewise can affect your credit and if they prevail, they could pursue a wage garnishment, bank levy, and a judgment lien against your other assets. The best way by far to pursue this is to negotiate with them the cheapest out from this agreement.

 

Hope that helps.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

We probably were not clear. We did not want the place to be bi-lingual. We wanted an English speaking preschool and found out after the twins began that it is bi-lingual. Isn't it their reponsibility to make this point clear in the contract?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, David. Here is the issue--what governs is the language in the contract that you signed. You can claim that you were misled, and try to take them to court to have the courts terminate the agreement. I happen to think you have a fairly strong case since by default a preschool in the US should be considered to have English based language skills rather than skills from a different county. But, and this is crucial, until the contract is broken by the courts, whatever language or terms are listed are controlling. So if the language is not defined in the terms, it is a non-issue and would not be a basis for breach. Hence, that would not be their responsibility to list it BUT failing to list it could give you a basis for claiming misrepresentation as a means out of the agreement.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Sorry for bugging you, but kids are important. Going to court to get the contract disolved - how is this done? Do we need a lawyer? Will it take long (longer than the contract itself)?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your follow-up, David.

That very much depends. How expensive are these agreements? How much would you owe as payments?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


13 thousand dollars, but they are willing to let us off for half of that.


 


Of course if it takes 8 months, we will be on our way back home anyway. So if we go to court we need a decision in a matter of weeks.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 11 months ago.
David,

The courts in the US do not really work that quickly. If you wish to pursue this on your own, that would be via Small Claims Court. In California the limit that you can sue for is up to $10,000, so if the amount is higher you would need to go to a higher court and retain counsel (small claims allows you to self-represent). Typically it may take 2-3 months in small claims for the complaint to be placed on docket and be heard. Higher courts can take longer, you may need to consider 4-6 months as a typical timeline. If you choose to pursue this via small claims, please consider going to this link below to learn more about the process:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

Otherwise, if you decide to pursue this via counsel consider browsing the listings at www.avvo.com or www.martindale.com for competent attorneys that may be located nearby to you.

Hope that helps.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 38082
Experience: Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
Dimitry K., Esq. and 4 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Many thanks. You were very helpfull.

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