Contract Disputes & Fraud

Contract disputes arise often in business and commercial transactions, in construction defect cases and in many real estate sales transactions. And, fraud may be an essential element of the dispute giving rise to the claim. Timothy Norton has 33 years of experience litigating contract disputes and fraud cases, with a proven history of success. Timothy Norton has won $190m in jury verdict awards, including a $70m punitive damages award for fraud. This experience is combined with decades of experience in all phases of litigation, including settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration and trial. This experience gives him invaluable insight into the elements and workings of contract disputes and fraud.

If you’re involved in a contract dispute, or contract-related litigation, call Timothy Norton today for a case evaluation and consultation: (310) 706-4134. We’re here to help. Norton & Associates serves clients throughout the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, including Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County and other nearby communities.

Damages for Breach of Contract

A breach of contract claim involves any substantial breach of a promise to perform that causes damage. If you have a breach of contract claim, your damages may include:

  • Consequential damages
  • Liquidated damages
  • Specific performance
  • Rescission

Consequential damages are the expenses and losses you suffer as a predictable but indirect result of the breach of contract. In construction and real estate cases this can include loss of profit as well as loss of use and the expenses you incur while your home is not available, or used, including the price of alternative housing, and moving.

Liquidated damages are damages that are agreed upon when the contract is formed and are included as a clause in the contract. They rarely apply in cases involve construction defects and real estate disclosure issues.

In specific performance the court orders the breaching party to follow through with their end of the deal.

Rescission is reversing the contract, returning the sums repaid to the original parties, essentially restoring the parties to their pre-contract positions. Timothy Norton has successfully applied this approach in a real property transaction, reversing the sale of a defective property, with the restoration of the purchase price, plus damages. This remedy is unique and must be evaluated carefully before pursuing.

Common Construction Cost Disputes

  • Change orders and extra work claims
  • Scope of work
  • Changed conditions
  • Delay, acceleration, and disruption claims
  • Warrantee claims
  • Financial discrepancies

Change Orders, Scope of Work and Changed Conditions

Property owners are often surprised when the final cost of their newly constructed custom home is much higher than the initially agreed-upon cost. The extra costs typically creep into the transaction in the form of change orders, often based on new requests, changed or unforeseen conditions, or changes in the scope of work. Not all of these are necessarily honest but are often a means by which builders, developers and contractors manipulate the costs and escalate their profits at your expense.

Where cost overruns and change orders are suspect, a thorough review of the record can be very illuminating, and may uncover significant financial discrepancies and even fraud.

Warranty/Guarantee

Every construction contract impliedly warrants that the work will be performed according to code and built according to the applicable standards of care. This is an implied warranty. Express warranties, which are specifically stated, may include these elements, or go beyond.  It is important that an experienced attorney evaluate these warranties and consider their application to your case. Timothy Norton has decades of experience evaluating and applying warranties in litigation.

Fraud

Fraud is a key inquiry in the evaluation of any contract dispute or business and commercial claim, including construction defect and real estate litigation claims. Fraud can come in many forms including:

  • Intentional misrepresentation
  • Negligent misrepresentation
  • Concealment
  • False promise
  • Constructive fraud

Intentional misrepresentation is very much what it sounds like: knowingly making false statements or intentionally misrepresenting facts so that the other party will enter into the contract or deal.

With negligent misrepresentation, the person perpetrating fraud makes a false statement which they believe is true but has no reasonable reason to believe is true and the false statement is relied upon by the party who enters into the contract.

Failure to disclose construction defects is a great example of concealment. Concealment occurs when someone has a legal duty to disclose specific facts or conditions and fails to do so. Concealment can come in the form of omission or covering up negative facts.

False promise, also referred to as promissory fraud, occurs when someone promises something with no intention of delivering. We are often able to prove intent in this type of fraud by showing evidence that there was no preparation or effort made to perform.

Evidence of Fraud

Many attorneys shy away from fraud claims, considering them too difficult to prove, or simply throw-away claims. These claims can be proven and should not become part of your claim if they are not viable. A thorough investigation of the facts and documents will determine this.

Evidence of fraud is often found in the perpetrator’s own documentation, and is very powerful and persuasive evidence, both in negotiating settlements and at trial.

Schedule Your Complimentary Consultation Today

To learn more about business and contract disputes, fraud and your legal rights, please call Norton & Associates at (310) 706-4134 today or email us right away to schedule your free consultation. We’re here to help you. Call today.

Norton & Associates serves clients in contract disputes and fraud cases in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and throughout the L.A. Metro area of California.