Articles Posted in BUSINESS CONTRACTS & AGREEMENTS

As a As an Atlanta, Georgia lawyer who both defends and files lawsuits on behalf of clients throughout GA and the US, I am writing to you today about Georgia lawsuit on contracts. At its simplest, a contract it is an offer by one party, accepted by another party, and performed, as agreed, by both parties.

Many parties entering into a new Georgia corporate business attorney-client relationship are either so eager to begin their business affairs, or so wary of delaying or derailing a Georgia business deal, that they are wary of bringing up the need for a written contract governed by Georgia Law. If a written contract is agreed to, many try to make it as simple as possible often without seeking the legal advice of an Atlanta, Georgia business contract attorney.

Our Firm has Atlanta business consulting lawyers giving advice to each business, which is custom tailored to their needs (we give such advice on an ongoing basis as needed after hours, on weekends, and more).

This is why many businesses enter agreements without a written contract, without attorney review of a contract, or without even reading a contract. This is also why so many contractual agreements that begin with such optimism and desire for speed, end up dragged down into the mire of contractual litigation, where they are finally forced to resort to the attorneys who could have prevented such a breakdown in the first place.

Protect your Georgia business with an Atlanta business lawyer’s advice and know that it is of the utmost important to have a written contract reviewed by experienced local Atlanta business contract attorney, that covers, simply but effectively, all necessary elements of the binding contract-agreement governed by Georgia law to ensure the rights and obligations of both parties are met.

A simple example of a situation where one clause can solve a great deal of time and expense is the question of jurisdiction to hear your case, the specific court (state or superior, etc.) and governing law.

Many Atlanta and Georgia businesses deal with other businesses, contractors, and customers that are outside of Georgia. So, if there is a lawsuit, where must it be filed? Many tend to believe that they can file a lawsuit in the state where they reside. This is not always the case, in fact, it is most often the very opposite.

Generally, a lawsuit must be filed in the state where the Defendant (the non-suing party) resides.

Thus, if you are a Georgia business, even one that feels it is the victim of a breach by an out-of-state company, you will still have to file in that company’s state with all the extra expenses involved in that.

If you wish to fight to have the case brought within your state and county, you will have to prove that your situation falls within the exceptions to this rule, known as the Georgia Long-Arm Statute (O.C.G.A. 9-10-91). Under the Georgia Long-Arm Statute a lawsuit can be brought in Georgia if the nonresident:

1. Transacts any business within Georgia;

2. Commits a tortious act or omission in Georgia;

3. Commits a tortious injury in this state caused by an act or omission outside this state if the tort-feasor regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this state; and

4. Owns, uses, or possesses any real property situated within Georgia.

This is a very high and fact-based standard and thus a time-consuming, expensive inquiry. It is also one that would have to be addressed before the merits of the case itself could even be considered.

THE BEST WAY TO AVOID THE ABOVE PROBLEMS?

A simple clause within the contract that states, “In the event a dispute arises, the parties agree that all lawsuits, claims, etc. will be brought within the state of Georgia [including county, city, and court where possible] and be interpreted and governed by and under Georgia law.”

[THIS – AND THE ABOVE AND BELOW INFORMATION – IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE – LEGAL ADVICE CAN ONLY BE GIVEN BY A GEORGIA ATTORNEY AT A PROPERLY SET CONSULTATION]
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As a residential and commercial construction arbitration lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, I can assure you that most persons entering into a Georgia construction contract do not think of worst case scenarios should any parties to the contract fail to perform their obligations according to Georgia construction contract law and construction industry standards.

• What is Georgia Construction arbitration; Is it binding? How does it work?

• What will happens if a contracting party fails to pay?


• What happens if the purchaser of contractor or builder services cannot be satisfied no matter what is done?

• What will happen if the contractor or builder neglects his duties?


• What do I do if I receive a Georgia “Right to Repair Act” Letter?

• Do I need to, and should I, send a Georgia “Right to Repair Act” Letter?

• What will happen if residential or commercial construction does not meet or exceed industry standards?

The questions and scenarios surrounding Georgia construction claims are endless as are the actual real life occurrences, which I witness happening day in and day out. To survive in the construction business world, it is best to be prepared for all possibilities. The best way to do this is to have a contract in place which fairly, resourcefully, and adequately covers almost any issues which might arise in any Georgia construction claim scenario.

For years, Georgia construction litigation was considered the more costly, more time consuming manner of dealing with disputes, and so many contracts included arbitration clauses instead. Georgia construction arbitration has many varied forms and phases, which are its counterparts to Georgia litigation. It is usually up to the parties to an arbitration, with the assistance of the arbitrator or arbitration panel, to make the decisions about pre-arbitration matters which are somewhat customized to the construction case. The most important and controversial aspect to Georgia construction arbitration clauses are that they are binding decisions and cannot be appealed to any court absent extraordinary circumstances. Even then, they are rarely overturned by a court of competent jurisdiction, but merely modified. One might say the good news in all of this is that Georgia construction arbitration can be a relatively fast and inexpensive forum for resolving Georgia construction disputes.

However, others counter this argument stating that the cost of arbitration has skyrocketed while the time it takes for a case to make its way through Georgia state courts has diminished significantly.

Two California Supreme Court cases held that the courts cannot overturn a binding arbitration award even if the arbitrator fails to follow California substantive law. As a result, it becomes literally impossible to have an erroneous decision reviewed by the courts. While this is a California case, State Supreme Court holdings often have a strong influence on the courts in other states.

Needless to say, if you enter into a Georgia Contract with arbitration, you should consult a Georgia contract lawyer with expertise in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. This is especially true if the contract you are entering is a Georgia construction contract for new home construction, a renovation contract, or contract for any similar building, structure creation, or like-kind services.

Formerly a typical arbitration clause in a construction contract might read as follows:

All claims or disputes between the contractor and the Owner arising out of or relating to the Contract Documents, or the breach thereof, shall be decided by arbitration in accordance with the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association currently in effect unless the parties mutually agree otherwise. The award rendered by the arbitrator or arbitrators shall be final, and judgment may be entered upon it in accordance with applicable law in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

– American Institute of Architects specifications (formA201) –

Due to the current trends in Georgia construction law and the arbitration process itself, as an Atlanta, Georgia construction lawyer with The Libby Law Firm, I would suggest incorporating certain additional considerations into arbitration clauses when used to give the parties to an arbitration greater control. For example,

Arbitration forum. The standard dispute resolution forum in the construction industry is the American Arbitration Association (AAA). However, recently, a number of other dispute resolution service providers (e.g. Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service “JAMS”) have developed and many attorneys now prefer them over the AAA. The choice of an arbitration forum should be reviewed in context of the cost, arbitration panel members, and forum arbitration rules. Particular attention should be paid to the forum’s arbitration rules since they are incorporated into the arbitration clause. Though, the arbitration clause may include provisions that delete all or portions of the forum’s rules.

Discovery. Most arbitration clauses limit the scope of pre-arbitration discovery. A well-drafted arbitration clause will restrict or expand discovery to correlate to the dollar value of the dispute.

Standard for Court Review of the Award. An arbitration clause can be drafted to require the arbitrators’ decision to comply with the substantive law. If the arbitrator violates such a provision, the parties to the arbitration may seek to overturn the award since the arbitrator exceeded the authority granted under the arbitration contract clause. To ensure that a court has enough information to properly review the arbitrators’ award the arbitration clause should also require the arbitrators to render a well- reasoned opinion. The opinion should include a statement of the factual determination made by the arbitrators and the conclusions of law rendered by the arbitrator. Finally, if you want the decision to be reviewed by the courts for compliance with substantive law, a provision should be included in the clause that clearly states that desire.

The best method for ensuring that a Georgia construction dispute is correctly and fairly resolved is through situation-specific clauses in properly-drafted construction contracts. The arbitration clause is one of many clauses included in a typical construction contract, and each clause can be affected greatly by recent changes in the law. It is thus wise for any construction contract to be drafted or at least reviewed by counsel before signing.

The Libby Law Firm Georgia construction lawyers can negotiate, review, and draft your construction contract in light of all of the most recent changes in accordance to Georgia construction law and arbitration proceedings, which is most favorable to you. If you are considering entering into a construction contract or amending a previous contract in light of recent changes in the law, contact our Atlanta construction contract law firm and come in for a consultation. Seeking the assistance of a seasoned Atlanta, Georgia construction contract and arbitration lawyer adept is the least you can do to protect yourself from worst case scenarios.


As a well-known Georgia construction arbitration lawyer with a perfect Avvo rating of 10, I am here to tell you that if anything can go wrong in a construction contract or in construction, it will. The very nature, imperfection, and importance construction combined with the building a home or commercial structure readily lends itself to disputes and conflict. This is likely true because for many, a home is the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life. In addition, construction is not what it seems to be on paper. It is, by its nature, imperfect and the result and methods of construction are readily subjective.

In short, protect yourself because this construction is “big deal” to parties to the contract and maintains a high rate of conflict.

If you have legal dispute or binding arbitration with a contractor, builder, sub-contractor or architect whose work does not meet or exceed Georgia industry standards, you should contact The Libby Law Firm without delay.
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Over the past few years in my Atlanta, Georgia business law firm, I have found that causes of action for breach of contract are much more prevalent today than in recent history. As an Atlanta Business Litigation Attorney, I have seen this trend steadily increase and attribute it to both the current economic situation and to the fact that we live in a highly transactional society.

Contracts can be written or oral and others are merely implied, but they can all be valid contracts under Georgia law. The number of businesses that provide services to each of us on a business or personal level is staggering – lending and investment institutions, Internet service providers, hospitals, lawn care services, etc. We use contracts when we set up a Georgia business entity, buy or lease office space or hire employees. The list is endless. Thus, disputes and litigation of Georgia breach of contract cases is endless as well.

Business contracts are used to substantiate and clarify the commitment to an agreement between at least two parties or more. With the shear volume of contracts that we come in contact with, it is not surprising that legal claims for breach of contract are common. A breach of contract occurs when the promise made per a contract is not fulfilled. For example, a breach of contract exists when the service or product specified in the contract is not delivered, if payment for the service or product is not made in a timely fashion, or if there is a failure to complete or start the work specified in a contract.

When faced with a breach of contract, it is best to seek the counsel of an experienced Georgia business attorney who handles breach of contract disputes. An attorney will analyze the situation and pursue the most appropriate course of action. Once a breach occurs, the non-breaching party is usually freed from the contractual obligation. Georgia courts typically resolve these cases by awarding damages that make the non-breaching party whole, as if they had never entered into the contract. When money awarded by the court does not fully compensate for the breach, the breaching party may be ordered to fulfill the terms of the agreement anyway. If the breaching party is found to be intentionally acting in bad faith, the court may award attorney’s fees as well as punitive damages to the harmed party.
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Imagine the scenario: you and your partner establish a new business entity in Atlanta and after some minor adjustments to the layout of the new office space, you are finally ready to move in and begin day-to-day operations. You quickly realize that your current office equipment is inadequate and outdated. Furniture and computer equipment is required. Because this is a new business venture, there is little cash available and it is decided that each one of you will buy some of the equipment for the office. You both pay for the equipment with personal funds. You buy the furniture at a cost of $12,500 and your partner buys computer equipment for $18,200. As time passes, you and your partner enthusiastically focus on generating business and the exact amount that each of you spent on the equipment is a fading memory.

Initially these expenditures do not seem to pose a problem. Yet without proper documentation, this seemingly innocent scenario can turn into a conflict that, even when business is good, may put a strain on your relationship with your partner. More serious legal consequences may arise if your business is sold or liquidated. Without adequate legal intervention, it may become a matter of “he said, she said” debt that is difficult to resolve.

The good news is that this situation can easily be avoided by property setting up Personal Guarantee Promissory Notes. These promissory notes should reflect the specifics of the business deal in order to ensure fair treatment for all involved, so using a boilerplate agreement is usually insufficient. Seeking the help of an experienced Atlanta, Georgia Business Attorney who will take into consideration the relevant facts specific to your business is critical to having your interests fully addressed and enforced.

Never go it alone. Protect your self and your business by implementing the proper legal instrument through a qualified business attorney. Your attorney will draft a Personal Guarantee Promissory Note that is specific to the unique circumstances and needs of your business and will ensure that your wishes, needs and desires are fully addressed and enforced.
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As a business lawyer, I have had a number of business persons ask me, “do corporations in Georgia need to be represented by an attorney?” The answer is a resounding “Yes”.

First, in Georgia business litigation matters, corporations must be represented by a licensed Georgia attorney in “courts of record.” Eckles v. Atlanta Tech Group, 267 Ga. 801, 485 S.E.2d 22 (1997). The Georgia Supreme Court found that although a corporation may be considered to be a “person” under Georgia law, when the corporation is facing litigation, it must hire an attorney to be represented in court. The Court reasoned that because a corporation can only act through its agent, when that agent represents a corporation in court, he or she is acting as a legal representative and must be a licensed attorney. Thus, a corporation cannot represent itself in court and must hire a business attorney.

Although not required by law, several other essential reasons exist for having an experienced Georgia business attorney involved in your company’s non-litigation matters. Having a knowledgeable attorney represent your business from the outset can save your corporation substantial monies, unnecessary trouble and expense, and protect your business from costly disputes and litigation. Areas in which an attorney can be extremely beneficial include, but are not limited to, ensuring proper corporate entity formation, employment contracts and hiring or firing decisions, entering into third party contracts, and avoidance of disputes and litigation.

• Incorporation: Deciding whether to form a corporation or a limited liability corporation (LLC) can have significant personal liability and tax consequences. Further, many specific legal formalities must be followed in order to incorporate or form an LLC, including the execution of many legal documents. Thus, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable corporate attorney advise you on the type of business entity that is best suited for your company. If you are unsure what steps your business should take, investing in even an hour of an attorney’s time can lead to a huge return on investment. Simple mistakes in incorporating can lead to serious financial and legal issues at a later time.

Employment Contracts: Many employee disputes and lawsuits could be avoided by having an attorney involved at the outset. Claims may arise because of confusion over job duties, payment of wages, and the failure to sign important documents such as non-disclosure of company secrets or non-competition agreements. Having an attorney ensure proper employment agreements and documents are in place at the beginning of an employment relationship can save your company from unnecessary trouble and expense down the road arising from employee disputes and litigation.

• Hiring and Firing: Our Atlanta business lawyers are well versed in the employment law. We know and understand there are legally correct methods to hire, fire, and lay off employees. The business employment lawyers at our firm understand the importance properly hiring new employees and setting expectations of them, executing the proper employment contracts, legally documenting these matters, as well as engaging in an appropriate amount of other protective measures for your business. Likewise, our Atlanta business employment lawyers understand the necessary steps and measures and document employee performance, adherence to business standards, and the proper way to fire or lay off employees should the need arise. The procedures and actions we take can be crucial in case a disgruntled employee decides to file a lawsuit or an action with a governmental entity such as the EEOC.

Third Party Contracts: It is extremely important to have your own Georgia business lawyers draft contracts and agreements in a manner favorable and protective of your business interests. Likewise, contracts offered by third party vendors, leases, and distribution agreements are often one-sided in favor of another party. As such, it is important to have a knowledgeable business attorney review all documents and contracts in order to ensure your company’s best interests are protected. Oftentimes, this includes negotiations concerning essential and material terms of any contract.

• Avoiding Disputes and Litigation: The experienced Georgia business law firm immediately.


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As an Atlanta, Georgia Business Attorney, I advocate many different forms of business entities under which a Georgia company can operate. One of my favorite entities is the Georgia Limited Liability Company (LLC). This is an entity recognized by the State of Georgia and affords its owners and investors (members) significant protection from liability as well as significant tax advantages. Such protections and savings are the primary benefits of setting up and operating under a Georgia LLC.

It is important to have an experienced Georgia business law firm set up your Georgia LLC. The costs are relatively inexpensive considering the time, investment, and serious nature of operating your Georgia LLC. Our Atlanta, Georgia, business attorneys can give you an overview and guidance on how to keep records and conduct business. Moreover, while it may seem easy to operate an LLC, seeking and following the advice and guidelines of an experienced Georgia Business Attorney is critical. Our Georgia business lawyers will walk you through the steps to protect your business as well as your personal assets. This could very well prevent “Piercing the Corporate Veil” and accessing your personal assets to pay liabilities and debts of the LLC. This is just one reason it is so important to have an experienced Georgia business lawyer work with you in setting up your LLC.

NOTE: Buying some “operating agreement” form over the internet to set up your business affairs likely is an immense and potentially costly mistake. This type action can get you in significant legal trouble with dire legal consequences. Likewise, setting up an LLC online and/or without the representation of a Georgia business lawyer is a dangerous and likely costly and poor business decision.

Once the initial research has been performed and information has been gathered concerning the structure of the Georgia LLC, the LLC’s application, By-Laws, Articles, Registered Agent, and other important matters are submitted to the Georgia Secretary of State for processing. Georgia law firms with significant experience in this area also can set these matters up online and a proper Georgia LLC can be set up in just a couple of days. Provided everything is in order, the Georgia LLC is created and its members will be authorized to do business as the LLC in the state in which the LLC is organized.
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As an experienced Atlanta Business Attorney, I frequently advise clients on Georgia employment contracts both for the employer and for employees. In giving advice to those on “both” sides of the desk, I have become familiar with the concerns Atlanta contract lawyers, Atlanta business employers and owners and Atlanta employees have in regards to Georgia employment agreements.

I cannot underscore or emphasize enough the importance of having all your Georgia business contracts drafted, reviewed, and advised upon by an experienced Atlanta Business Lawyer. It is commonplace to see that the necessity of this only hits home when business needs change and business owners-employers and employees alike have to take into consideration, workout or litigate what was not contemplated, or memorialized in writing, when the employer-employee relationship began.

In my practice as Atlanta Business Contract Lawyer, I see the worst in good people, both employer and employee alike. This most often occurs when the simple terms sets forth both below are not set out in detail in a Georgia business contract. Also essential to any Georgia business employment contract, is a comprehensive understanding of the contract. A Business contract is only as good as the parties understanding of it in addition to their adherence and compliance with such contract. As such, I have set forth a list of what I call essential elements and which need to be addressed in any Georgia employment contract. Below is a short list of issues to be considered, negotiated, memorialized, and reviewed by an experienced Atlanta Business Contract Lawyer.

1. Term of Employment: Georgia Employment agreements are considered “at-will” if they do not otherwise specify. When advising on Georgia business contracts, I usually suggest that the Georgia employment agreement specify whether it is for a specified term, with options to renew, negotiable at the end of any term or “at-will.” Also essential to the term of employment are factors such as deferred compensation, health insurance, 401K benefits, and a host of other compensation issues.

2. Position, Job Responsibilities, and Function: Georgia employment agreements should contain specific terms, which set forth the employee’s status with the business, the responsibilities of both the employee to the business and employer, but the business and employer to the employee (i.e. training, travel expense account, etc.).
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One of the most important services an experienced Georgia business lawyer can offer you and your business is knowledge, expertise, personalized legal guidance, and greatly increased chances your GA business will be successful, profitable and sustainable. Lawyers, unlike legal document services, know the problems encountered by GA businesses similar to yours, the GA state and federal courts and the government agencies you will inevitably interact with and the consequences a minor mistake or careless assumption may cause. These consequences can be costly, permanent, or even fatal to your business and your personal finances and welfare. As an experienced business lawyer in Georgia, I have found many of these problematic business situations arise out of faulty legal documents, improper business contracts, agreements or transactions. These are just some of the compelling reasons you should consider hiring a Georgia business law firm to assist and guide you in your business dealings.

Moreover, if your business is successful, the chances are good that you will need a good GA business lawyer again. Our Firm receives repeat Georgia business referrals constantly from clients who I have helped start their own Georgia business, and who later found that they needed other legal services, like reviewing a Georgia lease or taking their business to the next level of growth and profitability. In contrast, I also receive a large number of referrals from business owners send troubled colleagues my way so for resolution of a Georgia business dispute which otherwise could have been avoided had these business owners taken the time to get their businesses off to a good start with proper legal representation. I firmly believe, and have seen time and time again, that it is commonplace prudent business judgment for business owners and entrepreneurs alike to seek the services an experienced GA business lawyer. These services are invaluable and should at the very least, be considered.

A short list of the benefits a GA business lawyer can provide are as follows:

• Advice on which business entity is best for your situation and the best family or friends to involve;
• How to run your business and keep your books in order to get the maximum benefits from incorporation and avoid personal liability by another party “Piercing the Corporate Veil” and being able to access your personal assets for collection on any judgment against you or your corporation;
• An honest discussion of legal liability for the business and for you as an individual;
• Analysis of Georgia laws, county laws, city laws and local requirements will affect your business;
• Assistance with for permits, licenses and zoning and other requirements which will have an impact of your business and are necessary for its operation;
• Advice on the tax consequences and benefits of your GA business entity is subject to or entitled to;
• Assurance that your papers were completed correctly;
• Assistance with GA business contracts in your dealings with your clients and vendors;
• A local experienced GA law firm to call on when issues arise; and, you can be rest assured they will.
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