Contract Tips to Avoid Litigation

Contracts protect you in the event of a lawsuit, since they are the best evidence of the terms to which two parties agreed before getting into a dispute. A lesser-known but equally important advantage of contracts is that they can stop lawsuits from happening in the first place. It is a good idea to have the attorneys at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss review any contracts that you draft before you sign them. Likewise, if an employer, client, or prospective business partner has offered you a contract, you should review it with a business litigation attorney like Sean Foss, and discuss its implications before you sign the contract.

Drafting a Contract to Avoid Litigation

The best business contracts cover all your bases in that they establish boundaries and parameters for any possible problem that might arise about the items agreed upon in the contract. Before you write a contract, the goal is to think of all the “what ifs” and potential problems that can happen and to then address them in the contract. For a simple example, these are some questions that you might address in a contract between a babysitter and the family that is hiring her.

  • Under what circumstances, if any, is the babysitter allowed to transport the children in her car?
  • Is the babysitter allowed to have guests when babysitting?
  • Does the employer guarantee to pay the babysitter for a certain number of hours per week, even if, on some weeks, they need her help for fewer hours?
  • What is the base rate of pay for the babysitter? Are their situations where the pay is higher or lower?

The above questions, even if they seem trivial, will help the parties decide, down to the last detail, what the responsibilities of each party are. You should also ask yourself what the remedy is if one party is temporarily unable to fulfill one or more responsibilities. For example, if a couple hires a sidewalk chalk artist to draw on the pool deck at an outdoor wedding, the contract might have a clause that reads, “The couple agrees to pay the artist X percent of the agreed upon compensation if the wedding must be moved indoors because of rain.” 

The Courtroom is the Last Resort

Litigation, in which parties in a dispute argue before a judge, is the last resort. Your contract should include clauses about how to resolve disputes. You can specify the other measures the parties must take before resorting to litigation. For example, you can require that the parties first try mediation  before litigation.

A good way to avoid litigation is to compile a list of “it is not grounds for a lawsuit if” statements. In the contract, phrase these as “Party A holds Party B harmless if” certain things happen.

Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss About Litigation Issues 

The best contracts help you solve problems before they happen. A business litigation attorney like Sean Foss can help you draft contracts that indicate fair solutions to potential disputes. Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo, North Dakota to discuss your case or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002.