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When it becomes necessary to sue a supplier, a distributor, a designer, or another commercial contract partner, you probably have some general expectations. This includes facing vigorous opposition. So, you may wonder, what do you do if the entity you sued simply does… nothing? Fortunately, the law has a process for that but, like all other civil litigation procedures, it is vitally important you complete every step correctly. To that end, even when yours is a lawsuit in which the defendant is not participating, it is still extremely valuable to have a knowledgeable Atlanta commercial contracts lawyer on your side.

A contract dispute from here in Atlanta shows what we mean. An architectural designer, as part of its work erecting a canopy system at the Atlanta international airport, inked a deal with a supplier to purchase steel and other materials.

The supplier allegedly shipped non-conforming materials and also failed to pay all of its own suppliers and subcontractors as required by the agreement. Based on those breaches, the designer terminated the agreement and later sued.

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Sometimes, what you need from your commercial contract litigation action is an appropriate sum of money damages to compensate you for the harm you suffered before and during the litigation. Sometimes, though, no amount of money can compensate you for the harm someone’s misconduct is causing. When that happens, there’s another option for relief. It’s called a preliminary injunction and, if you need one, a skillful Atlanta commercial contracts lawyer can help you obtain that sort of court order.

Many times, a party seeks a preliminary injunction to get the court to order another party to stop doing something. Other times, though, what you need is a court order directing a party to do something. That was the challenge facing a Columbus-based home builder recently.

The builder had inked a land purchase agreement to obtain “residential building lots” from a husband, his wife, and several corporate entities associated with the couple. That contract contained a specific schedule for the provision of 1,600 lots.

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When you’re negotiating a commercial contract, there are many things on which you may be focusing during that process. Most of them will probably relate to aspects of what will transpire during the life of the arrangement. What’s essential not to overlook, though, is also getting the best “out” options possible. A good termination clause in your agreement can be vital in allowing you to escape a bad deal without potentially running into breach-of-contract issues. A knowledgeable Atlanta commercial contracts lawyer can help you as you negotiate that deal, and then defend the terms of the contract you signed.

A supplier agreement case from here in north Georgia shows a practical example of this in action. The parties were a large nationwide chain of high-end grocery stores and a small Norcross-based Greek yogurt manufacturer.

Six and one-half years after the sides negotiated and executed their supplier agreement, the manufacturer received a letter from the grocery terminating the contract immediately. The letter did not indicate that the manufacturer had breached the terms of the contract; in fact, it stated no reason at all for the termination. This spurred the manufacturer to go out of business and assign its rights to an asset recovery firm, which sued the grocery.

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Your business likely includes various elements of highly industry-specific knowledge. That can present a challenge if you encounter a need to bring a breach of contract lawsuit, as one or both sides may require experts to help the court make sense of the technical issues. When that happens, it is essential to ensure that the expert evidence the other side seeks to present meets all the standards the federal rules demand. If they don’t, you may be entitled to throw out that evidence. An experienced Atlanta commercial contract lawyer can help with this and every other vital step when it comes to making your case.

A contract dispute regarding a gas plant in Illinois offers a stark reminder of this truth. The buyer was a St. Louis-based energy company that sought to build a gasification plant (a facility that takes coal and water and produces synthetic natural gas.) The company contracted with another energy company for the purchase of needed equipment, including gasifiers.

Both sides, however, encountered problems. The buyer fell behind on the payments it owed. On the other side, the supplier’s equipment began experiencing problems. Similar gasifiers it sent to a plant in China were having difficulty converting coal into gas.

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In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, shelter-in-place and other “lockdown” orders had many impacts, including impacts on the performance of commercial contracts. Once again, a commercial contract and COVID-19 are together in the news, although this time it has nothing to do with lockdown orders. Nevertheless, this latest development once again makes for a good time to look at the significance of force majeure clauses in commercial contracts, and to remind readers of the vital importance of a skilled Atlanta commercial contracts lawyer when negotiating, drafting, or enforcing a commercial contract and its force majeure clause.

The newest development regarded a manufacturer of one of the COVID-19 vaccines and one of its billion-dollar contracts. Earlier today, the government of Poland announced that it was unilaterally backing out of commitments to buy large quantities of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine.

The country’s health minister told TVN24 that Poland “used the force majeure clause and informed both the European Commission and the main vaccine producer that we are refusing to take these vaccines at the moment and we are also refusing to pay.” The value of the Polish commitment to buy from Pfizer, which ran through the end of 2023, was $1.4 billion (US).

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In these challenging economic times, many businesses face substantial struggles. Sometimes, those struggles may lead a business that owes money to yours to fall behind on paying its debts. Of course, your business’ own success is predicated on getting paid the sums that are owed to you, and getting paid on a timely basis. When someone doesn’t, there may be an opportunity to work things out between the two sides. Other times, legal action may be necessary. When the latter is true, look to a knowledgeable Atlanta commercial debt collection lawyer for the legal representation your business needs.

If you’re a lender, dealing with a delinquent borrower can be complicated. There are various steps you can take to deal with the problem. However, if your situation reaches the point where litigation is necessary, you want not only to win your case but also to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Doing that may involve bringing — and winning — a motion for summary judgment.

A commercial lending dispute between an Atlanta business intelligence and data analytics company and its lender is a good example. The pair inked a loan agreement in late 2018. On the same day, the borrower submitted two promissory notes to the lender.

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A recent federal appellate decision could amount to something very important to businesses that may need to pursue, or defendant against, a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act claim. The ruling potentially represents a broadening of what kind of causal linkage is direct enough to meet the causation requirement of a RICO claim, which is important because any broadening of that requirement could make for a boon to those considering pursuing a RICO case. While substantial aspects of RICO law are well-settled, some areas continue to evolve to one degree or another, which is why it always pays to have a truly knowledgeable Atlanta civil RICO lawyer on your side who’s fully up-to-date on all the changes in the law.

The RICO case that spawned the new federal court decision involved the business of high-dollar bankruptcy advice and consulting. After one company (“M”) successfully defeated the other company (“A”) in securing several of these clients, A sued M.

The crux of A’s case was that M was able to beat A for clients, in part, by “knowingly and repeatedly filing disclosure statements in the Bankruptcy Court containing incomplete, misleading, or false representations concerning conflicts of interest” and thereby rigging the process. M also allegedly erected a “pay-to-play” scheme where it arranged meetings between its clients and certain bankruptcy lawyers in exchange for exclusive referrals from those attorneys.

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A character in a famous 1980s comedy film, at one point in the movie, looked at his friend and opined that “strange things are afoot.” Even if your business hasn’t come into contact with time-travelers from the future, that doesn’t mean that you may not face strange things from time to time, including peculiar legal claims against your business. Whether strange or mundane, never ignore or otherwise fail to act on these legal matters. Instead, retain an experienced Atlanta commercial contracts lawyer and get them dealt with.

Depending on the specifics, there may be ways to handle these kinds of lawsuits very efficiently. Take, for example, a contract dispute involving a world-famous rapper that went before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals… twice.

The rapper was the defendant. The plaintiff was a woman with whom the rapper allegedly had a romantic relationship before his emergence into stardom. The woman, who did not retain an attorney, asserted that a 1992 agreement called for her to receive $40 million “after 20 years was up.” She alleged that a written contract (signed by her and the rapper and witnessed by another man) existed, but she did not provide the court with a copy of that 1992 document.

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In many settings, the acronym “KBYG” stands for “know before you go.” In the world of commercial contracts, an experienced Atlanta contracts lawyer can help you with an essential task that might potentially be abbreviated as “KBYS,” or “know before you sign.” The right legal counsel can tell you exactly what is in your agreement, what is not, and exactly where your rights and responsibilities start and stop. That way, you can be sure you’re armed with complete knowledge before you make a binding decision.

A recent breach of contract case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals potentially looks like an instance where this sort of problem arose. The underlying contract, inked in 2012, covered the co-production of a new telenovela that was based upon the life and times of a one-time leader of a Mexican drug cartel. The co-producing entities were a Colombian television network and a U.S.-based Spanish-language network

The networks’ contract said that the two entities would jointly own “all elements” of the telenovela series. If either network decided it wanted to create a spinoff or other “derivative work,” it had to offer the other network the option to co-produce the derivative series together.

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If you follow enough civil RICO cases, you’ll notice that many plaintiffs’ RICO claims lack merit, sometimes obviously so. Of course, even when the RICO claim that a plaintiff has aimed at your business is one of those claims long on bluster and short on merit, they are still potentially harmful to you and your business. It is vital to take the case seriously and get that claim thrown out as soon as possible to minimize the damage it can do to you. To get that done, make sure you have an experienced Atlanta civil RICO attorney on your side.

A case that unfolded in Miami last year was the rare civil RICO case to make mainstream headlines. The defendant was a famous superstar baseball player-turned-TV-broadcaster. The plaintiff was the player’s former brother-in-law.

The player and the plaintiff’s sister married in 2002. Not long afterward, the two men formed a real estate business that owned apartments purchased for a total of $300 million, according to a TheRealDeal report.

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