If sued for a debt, some debtors will file “counterclaims.” While some counterclaims are valid, many are not. We represented a business client suing on a small ($6,000.00) debt. We filed the claim in magistrate court but the debtor hired an attorney, filed a counterclaim for $30,000 and transferred the case to state court. At the end of the day, the jury gave us a verdict for everything owed to us ($6,000) and the jury also gave us all of our attorneys’ fees ($7,500.00). The clear and obvious lesson is, many claims should be settled rather than litigated as litigation fees can often exceed the amount of claim.
Over and over again, we learn that it is always important to pay attention to details. In 2018, we represented a landlord who had a dispute with a tenant. The lease had expired and the landlord had prepared a lease extension document and had sent that document to the tenant but the landlord had not signed the extension before sending it. The tenant signed the document and returned it to the landlord but the landlord never signed the extension. The tenant continued to pay rent on a timely basis. The landlord ultimately desired to increase the rent but the tenant argued that the lease extension had been prepared and approved by the landlord and that the landlord could not raise the rent. We filed an action and prevailed on behalf of the landlord and were also able to recover all of the attorneys’ fees incurred by the landlord. For further information or assistance with landlord tenant matters, please contact Paul Andrew in our office.
A member of our firm, Paul Andrew, was invited to speak again this year at the Institute of Continuing Legal Education's Seminar on "Social Media and the Law." As more of our clients increase their use of social media platforms, they need to be aware of the legal implications of using those various platforms. This area of the law continues to develop rapidly and this is Mr. Andrew's fourth year of speaking at this seminar Contact us for further information.
As the economy has heated up, landlord/tenant disputes are on the rise. Landlords are anxious to sell properties that have appreciated in value or to replace poor performing tenants with more lucrative tenants. Our firm represented a ommercial tenant who was being forced out by a landlord. We succeeded in having the landlord's dispossessory action dismissed, giving the tenant added timme to find a new business location. On the "other side of the fence," our firm represented a landlord who was trying to remove a tenant that had not been living up to its obligations. We filed an action and the tenant to pay rent while the dispute was pending and this effectively ended the litigation. Contact Paul Andrew for further information on these types of issues.
Creditors are still very aggressive in trying to hold indivdual owners liable for corporate debts. In 2012, our firm reprsented a business client sued by an aggressive creditor. The creditor sued on the basis of a "personal guaranty" signed by the business owner. We were successful in winning the case and absolving the individual business owner of the debt. The lesson is, of course, that business owners should review and understand the importance of each document they sign. As a creditor, you must insure your "forms" are correct and that they are completed accurately and properly. Contact Paul Andrew or Raymon Burns for details.
Our firm had a client that signed a contract that required arbitration. The arbitration provision in the contract further prevented either party from having a court review any arbitration award for any legal defects. Our client prevailed at the arbitration hearing but the amount of money awarded to our client should have been for an even greater amount. We filed an appeal. The losing party claimed the contract language prevented us from appealing about any error in the arbitration award. In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals agreed with us and our client, finding that the contractual language that attempts to prevent any judicial appeal was invalid. Contact Paul Andrew for details.
When you are a defendant, it often pays to settle a lawsuit early, especially if you are not a "sympathetic" defendant. Paul Andrew of AMRS recently filed suit against a doctor for approximately $800.00 in compensation owed to an office worker. In the initial demand letter, Mr. Andrew offered to settle the claim for $800.00 plus $100.00 in attorneys' fees for having to write the letter. The doctor did not respond substantively to the demand. Mr. Andrew took the case to a jury trial and the jury awarded AMRS' client $800.00 in compensation owed and $8,000.00 in attorneys' fees. This was an excellent result for the client and maybe next time the Defendant will at least offer a compromise rather than adopt the "you won't sue me over $800.00" attitude.
In 2014, we represented a small business that rented equipment to a larger company. Our client included on the back of its pre-printed form some “early termination” fees that applied if the larger company cancelled the rental agreements earlier than planned. While our client furnished these agreements to the larger company, our client did not have a “signed” contract for the rental equipment. As is often the case, we offered to settle the dispute for a reasonable discount but the larger company hired a large law firm and spared no expense in defending the case. After a 3 day trial, the jury deliberated for less than an hour, awarding our client every penny we had requested.
Call Paul Andrew for additional details.
A member of our firm, Paul Andrew, was invited to speak again this year at the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Seminar on “Social Media and the Law.” As more and more of our clients use more and more social media platforms, they need to be aware of the legal implications of using social media. This area of the law is rapidly developing and this is Mr. Andrew’s third year of speaking at this seminar. Contact us for further information.
Working in tandem with local colleague Debra Hale, Esq., Steve Reilly of our firm had the Georgia Court of Appeals recently affirm a trial verdict awarding custody of a minor child to the child’s grandparents in a wide-ranging decision. The case was Holdaway v. Holdaway, A16A1239 (2016). After a trial, the court awarded custody of the parties’ minor child to the grandparents. The father appealed the decision, and Court of Appeals on August 3, 2016 affirmed the trial verdict in a decision that provides detail on current Georgia law as to the award of custody of a minor to third party grandparents.