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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My South Carolina medical recruitment and placement firm

Customer Question

Hello! My South Carolina medical recruitment and placement firm found a job for our physician candidate who was hired by our client, a private practice in New York. The terms of our contingency fee agreement with the client state that half of our $18,000 fee becomes due when our candidate signs the employment contract. ( In this case, May 1, 2016.) The other half is payable upon commencement of employment. We've been advised that this private practice is being bought out by a hospital facility and that none of our fee will be paid until the physician begins hospital employment in late September - presumably after the acquisition is complete. I wrote the CEO that our contract is with his practice, not the hospital, and that the first half of the fee is now due. We've received no response from him. I'm concerned that he may be losing his job and that we have no relationship with anyone at the acquiring hospital. Any suggestions please as to our next step to ensure we are compensated for our services? Thank you,
Andrea Berendt.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.
The contract only names the private practice client, correct? Has employment commenced? Will employment commence prior to the buy out?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Correct, our contract is with the practice, not the hospital. Employment has not commenced and we are uncertain as to exact start date in relation to the buy out.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Dear Customer,Thank you for using our forum. My name is***** am another expert on the site (your prior expert had to step out of the conversation - this sometimes happens as many of us also have our own practices as well).I have reviewed your conversation above, and based on what you posted this appears to be a very straightforward case for a breach of contract action (you performed your part of the contract, and they have not performed theirs).The issue that you are dealing with is more of a strategy consideration - when should you act to enforce your contract (and unfortunately this is more something that you have to make a decision on as opposed to something I can tell you to do).In most cases, it is generally advisable to wait until the contract amount is settled (so wait until your client is hired and the amount is realized in full) to sue - that way you only have to sue once, and your lawsuit doesn't jeopardize the rest of your claim, or your client's contract.The facts of your case do lead me to believe (and I think that you are already thinking this - based not only on the way you have clearly posted your situation, but also on the fact you are reaching out for more information here), that you are in a somewhat tenuous bargaining position (you are in danger of being "messed over" - to put it mildly).The medical firm that you are contracted with may be trying to put this situation out far enough that they will not have to deal with it, and then, by the time that the hospital actually does take them on, you are going to be left trying to track down a viable defendant (the hospital will likely defend the action by claiming whatever mechanism they bought out the medical practice didn't include their debt), while the doctors who actually owned the practice are going to try to disclaim liability).To avoid this, you can sue now. This has the downsides noted above (you are only suing for 1/2 now, you may have to go back and sue for the rest later (duplicating your efforts and costs); and, if they are feeling particularly aggrieved at being forced to perform as they agreed to do in the beginning, they may take this out against your client, creating more problems for you).Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.

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