A 21-year-old New Jersey contract dispute has finally reached an end. A judge recently ruled that a real estate mogul from New Jersey had cheated his business partners out of revenue that they deserved from an apartment complex. The development contract involved a 764-unit apartment complex that the man and several members of his family had built as part of a deal with two business partners.
In the suit -- which was originally filed in 1992 -- the man's business partners claimed that they did not receive revenue that was rightfully theirs. Instead, they claim that the man used revenue from the building to pay some of his other employees. After years of trials and appeals, the court sided with the man's former business partners. The court believed that the man purposefully inflated certain costs, took more fees then he or his family was allowed and participated in other fraudulent behavior.
As a result of these findings, the court found that a breach of contract had occurred. The judge also ruled that the man and his family had breached their fiduciary duty, committed fraud and violated civil racketeering laws. The judge has delayed her finally ruling on damages until next week, however the man's former partners were asking for $50 million in damages.
Breach of contract cases, like this one, can become very complicated. While most cases are not going to span more than two decades, they can drag on if the cases are not carefully managed. These cases are complex because some many factors are involved. Courts must determine if a contract existed, what its terms were and if a breach occurred. In order to try to avoid these issues, parties must ensure that their contracts are well written and clearly organized to begin with.
Source: KSTP, "Judge: Vikings Owner Cheated NJ Project Partners," Scott Theisen, Aug. 6, 2013