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AttyHeather
AttyHeather, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 621
Experience:  15 years law practice experience
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A recruiter company has found a job and I signed the

Customer Question

A recruiter company has found a job for me and I signed the agreement to work for that company that they found. Because of a family emergency I couldn't join to the company and I changed my mind and I told the company that I can't join and they accepted my apology and they were fine but now the recruiter company claims that I need to pay 17000 $ as a penalty to them and they say that I have signed the agreement. I asked them to show me and I saw in the second page of agreement they say if the client quit the job she has to pay penalty but they don't mention how much. I want to see what should I do? can they make me trouble?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 8 months ago.

Hi, I'm Heather, an attorney with 15 years experience and I'd like to assist with general information for educational purposes.

I would expect that somewhere in that contract, it states how much the penalty is. It sounds like a very complicated contract, but if you are correct and there is no provision that states how much the penalty is, or that states a way to calculate the penalty, then the courts will impose reasonable provisions for the omitted provisions. The court will interpret the contract to mean what is reasonable based on the generally accepted trades and business practices of your area.

You do have some defenses to the contract, if you are sued, and you should tell them that if they sue you, you will defend yourself with all affirmative defenses under the law.

First, the contract is unconscionable. That contract sounds like it was grossly unfair. It sounds like they really took advantage of you and inserted all kinds of clauses and conditions in the contract. Moreover, for what they have provided to you, they are asking for a huge windfall. It sounds also, like the bargaining power was not balanced at all - they had all their lawyers drafting this contract, and the only way you could even be considered for this job was to sign their non-negotiable agreement.

Second, your non-performance should be excused under the doctrine of impractibility. The elements of this defense are:

(1) an event unexpected at the time of contracting made your performance commercially impracticable, and

(2) you ought not to bear the loss from the occurrence of the event.

Third, your non-performance should be excused under the doctrine of frustration. The elements of this defense are:

(1) an event unexpected at the time of contracting made your performance lose its essential point, and

(2) you ought not to bear the loss from the occurrence of the event.

So, as you can see, you do have some defenses to their demand for money and their threats against you. You can pay it if you want to get them off of your back, or you can refuse to pay it, and tell them that if they sue you, you will put up your defenses.

Finally, even if your contract states that they get attorney fees in the event of a lawsuit, in TX the civil statutes provide that if you prevail, you can ask for them to pay your attorney fees, whether or not it provides for that in the contract.

Could you please let me know in the chat if I have answered your question? Best of luck to you in this situation!

Expert:  AttyHeather replied 8 months ago.

Hi, I'm checking in to see if I answered your question? Please let me know. Thank you.