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Property owner ordered pay $5.2 million

Many business relationships work out as expected when both sides have a contract in place. One party does something they agreed to do and then gets paid by the other party upon completion.

However, there are times when one or both parties fail to do what they said they would do and this can lead to legal disputes that take much more time, energy and legal action to resolve. For example, one Florida man has filed yet another lawsuit seeking $5.2 million from his former company, a venture capital firm with ownership of a mall. He maintains the company should have paid him this sum in accordance with a contract that was in place, but the company has failed to do this.

Last year, a court ordered the company to fulfill their financial obligation that was established in a 2004 contract. According to the document, the company was to pay the man, who is the former development director, a portion of the money made in the sale and leasing of commercial space in a Florida mall. All told, the court determined that the man was owed $7.2 million but had only been paid $2 million.

In that case, the court determined that the contract in place was ineffective in one very critical way. It apparently set no deadline on when the man would receive the money he was promised. However, the court noted that because the man has now left the company, his departure meant that he should be paid.

Despite that ruling, the company has evidently continued to withhold payment for an unknown reason. The man recently filed a second lawsuit stating nonpayment. 

This case may be a good reminder of the importance of having a contract in place that has specific and enforceable terms. Had these terms been in place all along, it may have been possible to avoid this dispute and the delays in payment.

Whether you are drawing up a contract or have questions regarding how you can enforce the terms set in that contract, it can be a good idea to discuss the details of your situation with an attorney.

Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal, "Developer for Pinellas Park mall seeks $5.2M from Tampa Bay mayor," July 27, 2015

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