Can You File a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania for a Breach of Contract If You Feel You Have Been Defrauded?
When a vendor or service provider fails to deliver goods or services that were paid for and expected, it can be considered a breach of contract. Generally, a breach is not considered to have occurred if there is a legally sound explanation for non-delivery and a refund or favorable remedy was provided. However, matters are sometimes not as simple as that.
A dentist in Pittsburgh felt defrauded when he believed he had contracted for a custom sign and instead ended up with an equipment-lease contract he hadn’t agreed to. He filed a lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas against three parties involved in what he alleges to be a legally questionable transaction.
The dentist, Frederick D. Sams, claims he never received the Lexan-lighted sign he ordered from a local marketer. According to the complaint, Sams entered into an agreement with a local marketing company to purchase a specialized sign costing $22,495, and he placed a $5,000 deposit. This transaction took place between Sams and the first defendant named in the suit. The second defendant claims they submitted a “merchant agreement” for Sams to sign, but he denies signing it. This “merchant agreement” was actually an equipment-lease contract for the sign, which was to be financed by the third defendant. The terms of this agreement required Sams to pay $497.03 each month for the following 60 months. Although Sams claims he never signed the agreement, he made the monthly payments for about a year, expecting to receive the sign when its construction was completed.
When continuous payments are made, a party to a contract could believe that the agreement remains enforceable. In Sams’ case, he felt the contract was breached when the sign was never delivered after he had submitted the $5,000 deposit and made the monthly payments during that year. After Sams stopped making the payments, he was refunded only his $5,000 deposit. He claims the agreement he made was breached and that the three parties had colluded to defraud him of his money.
The terms of every contract should be negotiated and drafted carefully so that all the parties can clearly agree to them before signing. When there are discrepancies among what the various parties believe they will be getting in exchange for their money and efforts, lengthy and costly legal battles can develop.
At Feldstein Grinberg Lang & McKee, P.C., obtaining a satisfying outcome for your breach of contract matter is our top priority. We do not just bill client hours; we build client relationships and invest ourselves in your success. Call 412-436-5788 or contact us online to see how we can resolve your issue.