Wow. Just when you think our courts are becoming more business friendly, the Connecticut Supreme Court issues a decision on whether businesses can enforce oral contracts. The answer for Homemaker Companion Agencies is a resounding “no.” This isn’t too surprising because, similar to home improvement agreements which must be in writing and signed by the homeowner, contracts between consumers and agencies that provide homecare services must also be in writing and signed by the consumer.
Connecticut Contractors beware, that cartoon was reality for one of your peers, and cost him a ton of money. A recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision (meaning it’s the law of the state) took away a contractor’s $214,039 court judgment it had won for services it had performed for a homeowner. You can read the decision here.
So many businesses rely on independent contractors to provide services to their customers. Home improvement contractors quickly come to mind. Businesses realize many benefits from using independent contractors, rather than employees. Not having to pay unemployment tax for the independent contractors is one huge benefit, and unemployment claims are usually when a business gets into trouble in this area.
Why do companies have some employees sign noncompetition agreements and nonsolicitation agreements? Well, it's simple. So they can protect their business, its goodwill, income, the business owners' livelihood, and all of things that make the business valuable.
Words in contracts almost always mean something, especially in distributorship agreements, invoices and purchase orders. The thing is, you never really find out what they mean until there is a dispute.
When does a prevailing party have to apply for an award of attorney's fees in Connecticut state court? Lawyers received an answer from the Connecticut Appellate Court last week in Meadowbrook Center, Inc. v. Buchman. You can read the decision here. We've discussed attorney's fees before, which you can read here and here.
All lawyers should include basic provisions in contracts for their clients. One basic provision designates or chooses the state's law that applies. If your client has the bargaining power, and is located in Connecticut, well, you choose Connecticut. But the language you use in your "choice of law" provision is critical. Simply stating that, for example, "Connecticut law governs the interpretation and enforcement of this agreement" will not guarantee that Connecticut law applies to extra-contractual torts.
Connecticut's general assembly found time to add to the list of the types of contractors that must comply with the Home Improvement Act. As of January 1, 2017, contractors that perform water, fire and storm restoration and mold remediation will have to register as home improvement contractors and use contracts that comply with the statute. While registering is an easy process and relatively inexpensive, check it out here, making sure your contracts comply with the Act is a little more involved.
Home improvement contractors can get a bad rap. And just like lawyers, its mostly undeserved. Contractors are regulated by the state Department of Consumer Protection and governed by the Home Improvement Act, a law that can cause them all sorts of troubles if they don't comply with it.