Tag Archives: legal contracts

A Tale of Fraud, Deception and Legal Justice

A. Lewis Ward Earned Texas Lawyer Recognition for a Top Contract Dispute Verdict in Texas

In all areas of the law, litigation is best avoided. It is time consuming, expensive, stressful, and unfortunately, exceedingly challenging for attorneys and clients alike. Sometimes, however, justice is possible only by taking a case to trial. Last year, A. Lewis Ward obtained a judgment of $3,039,960, delivering relief to deserving clients and ranking as the ninth contract dispute verdict for 2015 in Texas, according to Texas Lawyer, a weekly legal publication.

This distinguished accomplishment would not be possible without the most important component of Mr. Ward’s law practice – his clients. Ward shares this victory with those who place their trust in him and his extensive experience as a personal injury and business law attorney.

The suit in question involved Mr. Ward’s clients and three opposing individuals, all of whom were “in” on what would turn out to be a deal gone very wrong. Out of respect, real names of the clients and the opposing parties are not disclosed in this tale.

The client, Sally’s corporation, owned a piece of property worth about $1.2 million. For various reasons, Sally decided to sell the property. A potential buyer, Eric, came along with his acquaintance, Leroy. Eric wanted Leroy’s business experience and financial backing, in order to ensure that an agreement could be made and that Sally was comfortable with the risk involved. Leroy, showing a bank statement with a $450,000.00 balance and a loan pre-approval letter for $7.5 million dollars and boasting a very high net worth, convinced Sally to form a contract of sale with Eric.

Needless to say, the agreement was not upheld by Eric and Leroy. In fact, “Leroy” was not really Leroy, but Leroy’s brother, Bob. With Leroy and Eric’s knowledge, Bob had impersonated Leroy, in order to sway Sally’s decision to do business. Imagine that! It turns out that Bob had a prior criminal conviction for fraud, leading him to impersonate his brother to avoid discovery of his criminal background. Eric was friends with brothers Leroy and Bob and knowingly participated in Bob’s deception, with the real Leroy’s endorsement.

Successful Contract Dispute Verdict

Ultimately, Eric settled the claims against him for breach of contract, but Leroy and Bob fought until the very end. Ward showed the jury that Leroy and Bob were guilty of fraud in inducing Sally’s corporation to enter into a contract with Eric for his purchase of the real estate. Without the prior criminal conviction of Bob being allowed into evidence, Ward still proved that Sally and her company were fraudulently induced to form the contract with Eric.

The sad truth is, people like Eric, Leroy, and Bob are out there. They commit fraud, scheme and scam, and do their worst to cheat good, hard-working people out of time, assets, and money. In A. Lewis Ward’s Legal Blog, examples are reported of similar instances and hard lessons learned. As a reminder, one can never be too careful. But, when the stakes are high and a mistake is made, A. Lewis Ward seeks justice for clients who deserve nothing less. Occasionally, something rewarding like ranking as a top contract dispute verdict in Texas Lawyer occurs as a reinforcement for the work and the people Ward represents.

Legal Contracts – If You Signed It, You Are Probably Stuck With It

Read it before you sign it

Legal Contracts are often binding

A. Lewis Ward helps consumers and business owners with legal contracts, other legal matters and avoiding legal mistakes

All too often I hear from people explaining how they are faced with a big problem, that they are being dumped on by a company or another party, and surely something should be done about it.

Many times, in actuality, the other party is within their legal rights because of a written legal contract signed by the person complaining. All too often, people sign documents that they do not read or that they do not understand, which can cause serious trouble!  Legally speaking, you are presumed to have read and understand any document or agreement that you sign.

Generally, it matters not that you did not read it or that you did not understand it. Therefore, if you have not read it or if you do not understand it, please do not sign. If you have a question about legal contracts, it may cost very little or nothing to simply pick up the telephone and ask an attorney to explain it to you.

This is not to say that you are always stuck with every legal contract you sign. There are legal concepts with fancy names such as fraud in the inducement, misrepresentation, mistake of law, and mistake of fact which can be and are employed to set aside legal contracts when the facts make it possible. There are also breaches of the contract – sometimes even anticipatory breaches – that might enable you to terminate a contract which you have signed. But, without these factors being present, you can usually be made to comply with an agreement that you signed or pay damages for your failure to do so.

When it comes to important transactions, I suggest that you get the document or contract in advance – these are often preprinted forms. In the privacy of your home or office, without being rushed, review the document or agreement. Although the wording may be somewhat difficult or strange, you should be able to figure out who is who in the agreement. But, there may be concepts or other terms which carry important legal significance which you do not understand. In that event, you should call an attorney for assistance. If you do not have the time and forethought to review an important document or agreement in this fashion, nevertheless read it before you sign it – even if it causes the other party to wait while you do so.

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t sign it!! Do not let being in a hurry or your enthusiasm to do this deal cloud your thinking. The delay and disappointment may be small relative to the damage you do to yourself.