I enjoyed my drive into the office today because the news included a story about the snow removal contractor, who failed to clear the highway I use daily from snow and ice last winter, being fined $ 900,000.00 for not doing their job.

To be clear: for me this was not just about taking four hours to get home instead of 45 minutes: it was about the danger of the condition of the roads. The roads were not crammed with motorists: the highway was virtually impassible. I vividly recall calling home and saying “I’m not sure I can get off the highway because all of the off ramps have collisions due to no salt on the ramps.”

In addition to hearing about the fine, I heard on the news that the company is still “fighting” the fine.

If you’re a business: could you be fined if you breach a contract? Could the person you just contracted with impose additional fees on you if you miss a fairly short deadline? Have you had your lawyer look over a contract if you don’t understand it?

We look over and recommend changes to many contracts for our clients before they sign them. Because of these changes, we have saved our clients a lot of money as well as time and energy on a business venture that was destined to be less than profitable for our client.

Some of the key issues we look for in contracts are: what law governs the contract? Many contracts coming out of companies from the USA will state that the laws of a specific State govern the contract. Worse yet, many contracts will require you to go to a specific County in a State in order to litigate: do you really want to have to retain a USA lawyer to protect your company?

Having a lawyer in our firm review a Contract will cost far less in legal fees than retaining our firm to litigate a poorly worded contract and you avoid conversations that start with “so, about that Contract you signed …..”.

Inga B. Andriessen JD
iandriessen@andriessen.ca