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legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7123
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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As the owner of a small speech pathology practice, we had a

Customer Question

As the owner of a small speech pathology practice, we had a contract with another incorporated agency in town to provide their speech pathology services. We had to terminate our contract last month because they owed us over $50K. They paid us $24K on our last day; still owing us $32K. So far, they have made no further payments and have provided no further information about a payment plan. What should be my next step? Keep in mind that I am still supervising one of their own therapists who needs my signature on her clinical fellowship year (CFY)paperwork at the end of June, in order to obtain her license to practice in this state. (Speech Pathologists have to do a 9 month CFY under the supervision of a licensed Speech Pathologist in order to be licensed.)
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 4 months ago.

An agreement must contain four essential elements to be regarded as a contract. If any one of them is missing, the agreement will not be legally binding.
1. Offer
2. Acceptance
3. Intention (meeting of the minds)
4. Consideration (fair value exchanged)

For breach of a contract, there is a material breach (goes to the very heart of the matter) and an immaterial breach (money damages will help compensate the plaintiff).

In cases of material breach, the party not in breach may revoke their acceptance, so goods/payment are returned.

For immaterial breach, the plaintiff is compensated by the defendant paying for the damages (ie cost of repair).

When services have been terminated due to breach, the non breaching party can sue to recover outstanding amounts owing under the contract.

General Sessions Court (aka small claims) is for cases involving less than $25,000; this is a simpler process than regular civil court so some people will choose to waive any claim above the jurisdictional amount - that is strictly a matter of preference. The form to initiate a complaint is here

and here are the rules

If one wishes to pursue the full amount to which the contract entitles them, that would be done in regular civil court called circuit court, in the jurisdiction where the breach occurred. At this level, it is best to hire legal representation because the process is detailed.

Before filing suit, most courts prefer the plaintiff to send a demand letter, attempting to reach an out of court settlement of some sort (full payment, partial payment, etc).

As for the supervision of the therapist, that would be a matter that would need to be addressed - for example, if this is included as a contract provision and the other party is in breach, then generally that would release all parties as to their liabilities. That would put the therapist in a very uncertain situation unless the defendant can take over the supervision (I am not familiar with the licensing requirements and whether 2 different entities can train)

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.

Expert:  legalgems replied 4 months ago.

Hopefully an agreement has been reached on the above and the above information was useful. Thank you for using JA!