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Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5750
Experience:  20 years professional experience
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I'm a teacher in a public school. When I received my

Customer Question

I'm a teacher in a public school. When I received my contract this year end of march it was not correct. The contracted number of days was not the right amount. I gave it back to the school board secretary and was told that she would look in to correcting it. I asked about it several times before its due to be signed date 4/14. I continued to ask about it a one more time before I went on maternity leave 4/20. I was back in the school working 3 days during my "leave" and asked about it, it wasn't done. I returned to work 6/6 and asked the school board secretary if my contract was done since it started 7/1. She said she would work on it. She brought it down to me with the adjusted number of days on 6/8 I looked it over and signed it. Is it a legally binding contract since it wasn't given to me by the time it was supposed to? Since I wasnt under contract I was looking for other employment the day after I signed 6/8 I was called for an interview and offered the position. I would like to accept, but don't feel that I should have to pay the penalty sing the contract stated it was to be signed 4/15 and I didn't have it until 6/8? Please help!
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick.

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Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

Under contract law, a contract arises or is formed when there is an offer, an acceptance, consideration or promises of future consideration, and a mutual intent to the bound. Based on what you have stated, a court is likely to find that when you accepted the school offer on 6/8 by signing the agreement, a contract was formed. That said, what you may be able to do is reduce or avoid all together the penalty. If the contract says that you have to pay XYZ dollars to get out of it, that clause cannot be enforced if it acts as a penalty.

more to come...

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

Here is the supporting Iowa law:

A party seeking to recover for breach of contract is entitled only to be placed in as good a position as the party would have occupied had the contract been performed. Midland Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Mercy Clinics, 579 N.W.2d 823, 831 (Iowa 1998). A party is not entitled to use the breach to better its position by recovering damages not actually suffered. Id. These propositions are equally true when the contract calls for liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are permitted in contracts as long as they do not constitute a penalty. Aurora Bus. Park Ass'n v. Michael Albert, Inc., 548 N.W.2d 153, 156 (Iowa 1996); Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 356 (1981)…Liquidated damages are not penalties if they are set at an amount reasonable in light of the anticipated or actual loss caused by the breach. Rohlin Constr. Co. v. City of Hinton, 476 N.W.2d 78, 80 (Iowa 1991).