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I am a service provider for company x and 3 weeks ago I was…

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Hi there. I am a...
Hi there. I am a service provider for company x and 3 weeks ago I was approached to take on an assignment that required salvaging of a project which was in danger. The person who approached me was the Head of the area I am currently doing an assignment for and he indicated that he wants me to do the job however the programme owner would like an interview to ensure that I am the right person for the job. I went through the formal process and she really liked me and based on my conditions for accepting the assignment she asked the Head of the area to prepare the necessary paperwork. I started with the assignment and I was introduced to the team as a new Project Manager. In parallel to working on the new project and my existing scope I followed up on the written contract and after back and forth discussions the agreement did not honour my conditions for acceptance of the new contact as discussed verbally and ariculated in the e-mails. Eventually, there was s fall-out and the Head indicated that he will look for someone else to perform the assignment. Can I sue for breach of contract? A verbal agreement was reached and that created an expectation for income and I had already started working on the project.
Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: South Africa Law
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Answered in 15 minutes by:
9/27/2017
Lawyer: Christiaan K,
 replied 8 months ago
Christiaan K
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 217
Experience: Attorney & Director at Lombard Kotze Incorporated
Verified

Good day

My name is ***** ***** I will assist you in answering your question today so please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions as you like until you are satisfied that I have answered your question.

If I understand you correctly, the terms of the agreement was discussed and negotiated and agreed upon. The company then indicated that they want to put the(already agreed) terms in a written contract but requested that you start with rendering services. This means that a verbal agreement was reached. The fact that they wanted to record the terms of the verbal agreement in writing does not mean that there was just negotiations and no agreement. The recordal thereof was simply a formality and the agreement is not dependent upon a written agreement. in fact, it quite often happen that parties negotiate an agreement and then have the caveat that it is to be recorded in writing but as soon as the work starts, they forego the formality of having it recorded in writing.

If I have summarised the situation correctly, you will be 100% correct to sue them for breach of contract.

I trust that this answered yourquestion.

Please be so kind as to rate my service by clicking on the relevant stars or smiley faces. If you do not rate my service, I do not get paid by the website so I would really appreciate it if you would be sokind as to rate my service positively.

Kind regards

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thanks Christiaan for the feedback provided.Yes the terms were agreed upon in the interview and these were 1) the new contract detailing the scope to be drawn up, 2) Inclusion of a skilled administrator as a support resource that I required to execute on the agreed scope.The only thing that we did not discuss in the meeting was my hourly rate.The Head of the area requested me to put together the statement of work for his review and sign'off and I did this and submitted to him and thats where the back and forth and disagreement on the terms started. 1stly; They wanted me to play the Project Manager and Administrator role ; 2ndly: He wanted my rate to remain the same as the existing SOW as he indicated that he is going to cancel my existing contract and replace it with the new one. I then challenged that arguing that the new engagement is not a transfer and should not be treated as such. Eventually the discussions collapsed and a week later my old contract was prematurely terminated without giving any reasons.
My follow up questions are:
1. What should I base the settlement amount for the new scope (verbal agreement) on considering that the hourly rate of the new SOW was disputed while the term period of 16 months was not an issue?
2. Should the settlement amount include the rate of the Administrator that I was going to second to the project?Your assistance is appreciated.Kind regards,Alicia
Lawyer: Christiaan K,
 replied 8 months ago

It starts getting a bit more complicated now if you say that the payment terms were not agreed upon nor the scope of the work to be done.

In contract law we have what is called essentialia of an agreement. This is the minimum terms that must be fixed and agreed upon before you can say that a verbal agreement was entered into. The essentialia for this type of agreement includes inter alia the following:

1. The parties to the agreement;

2. Specified and or implied duties that you must carry out (Scope);

3. Period of the agreement;

4. Price.

If points 2 and 4 were not agreed upon, then one cannot say that the essential elements required for a verbal agreement were met and a new verbal agreement was entered into. This is more a factual question than a legal one and you will be best suited to answer it.

The cancellation of the existing contract is a more clear cut breach of contract for which you can sue. You can either sue for specific performance (reinstatement) or damages.

In summary, if you did not agree on price then no agreement was reached and in that case you will not be able to sue for breach yet since it was still in the negotiations phase.

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Lawyer: Christiaan K,
 replied 8 months ago

Hallo Alicia

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