Contract Disputes

Can a contract be voided?

If two (ore more) parties sign a written agreement, learning that it’s voidable may be jarring. However, in Broward County and elsewhere in Florida, it can happen. Contract dispute attorney David S. Tupler, P.A. offers the following as possible grounds for nullification of a signed contract in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood:

Cooling-off Period

Even after signing on the dotted line, both parties involved in a contract may still be entitled to have three days to consider canceling it in full or have certain goods and/or services removed on the agreement if over $25. Also, sold goods and/or service deals made during a home solicitation sale also get a three-day grace period to cancel. If the signed documents are not clear on the exact process to follow to cancel, consult a lawyer. Similar to warranty periods, if the contract cancellation is not submitted in the exact manner mentioned in the executed documents, legally, the disputing party may make it non-voidable.

Illegal Agreement

Illegal drugs and crime are obvious examples of why a contract would be voidable. However, petty crimes also may come into play. For example, if a bootleg movie seller is contracted and paid to acquire a certain film or a clear quality film, the buyer cannot take the bootleg seller to court for a poor quality film. The buyer also cannot legally fight in court if the seller doesn’t acquire the film at all. In the U.S., software piracy could lead to statutory damages of anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000, a felony charge and/or a five-year prison sentence. These charges include social piracy, counterfeit piracy and online piracy as well.

Mental Capacity

A contract law attorney and possibly law enforcement may be needed to prove an agreement is voidable in the case of mental capacity. It is altogether different for someone to sign an agreement without knowing what some legal terms mean versus being inebriated. For example, a marriage can be annulled if one or both parties is bullied into signing after a fraudulent act or misrepresentation, either party is drunk (from alcohol) or on Schedule I-level drugs , one of the parties is a minor, not honest about impotency, or the marriage is a joke. Contracts work much the same way.


In Florida, almost all legal rights (including jury duty and being sued in court) can happen at the age of 18 or older. If a contract is created that includes minors, there must be someone of adult age who can agree to the terms for goods and services. Should the minor still choose to opt out of the agreement, that minor cannot be punished in a court of law. For example, if a child actor decides to not participate in a film, his guardian may be held accountable for potential fees but this would not be something that could trickle down to the minor’s credit report.

Missed Deadline

If either party is concerned about when to file a contract lawsuit, seeking legal counsel may help answer that question. The time to file a lawsuit can range from anywhere to a year to five years. If a company does not correctly file within the legal time frame, the opposing party’s lawsuit may be dismissed and the agreement could be voidable. However, if one party chooses arbitration, that eliminates the right to a dispute by judge or jury.

Real Estate

Although there are some oral agreements that can be honored in Broward County court, real estate contracts are not among them. According to the Florida Bar, the sale of real estate cannot be completed if it is not in writing within one year’s time-frame, so time is of the essence. Consult with a Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale contract lawyer immediately after a discrepancy arises for the best chance of prevailing in court.

Contract Disputes

Are contracts valid if signed when drunk?

People routinely make incorrect decisions when they're under the influence of alcohol. In some instances, an intoxicated person may sign a contract while under the influence only to later regret entering into the agreement. Fortunately, Florida law often grants recourse to individuals who sign a contract while intoxicated, and the first step toward maximizing your chances of success in court is hiring a Fort Lauderdale contract attorney to assist you with your dispute.

Elements of a written agreement in Broward County

Generally, an agreement must meet a few specific criteria before Broward court will consider the agreement to be a legally-binding contract. First, an offer must be made by one party to another. Next, the other party must accept the offer. Both parties must then have a "meeting of the minds" and agree to the material terms. The agreement must also call for the exchange of something of value or "consideration." Finally, the contract must not involve an illegality, and the terms must be definite and clear enough to enable a court to sufficiently enforce the agreement. If one of the parties is intoxicated, courts will typically find that a meeting of the minds did not occur because a person who has been drinking may not be able to sufficiently understand the material terms of a contract.

Proving intoxication created impairment

Once a court finds that the an otherwise valid contract was entered into during the time frame in which one of the parties claims to have been intoxicated, the party who alleges intoxication must demonstrate to the court reasons the contract should not be enforced. Typically, the party must show that his or her intoxication was severe enough to create impairment. The party would then argue that the intoxication-induced impairment caused him or her to lack the required capacity to enter into a legally-binding contract. If the court finds that the intoxicated party lacked capacity, the judge may rule the contract voidable, meaning the intoxicated party may avoid the contract if he or she chooses to do so.

Recourse for the other party's lawyer

In some instances, when one party is seeking to avoid a contract by claiming intoxication, the other party may wish to enforce the contract to avoid suffering a loss. The party who wishes to enforce the contract may file a quasi-contractual claim in the interest of seeking a more equitable remedy. This type of claim allows parties who acted in good faith and performed as though a contract existed to be compensated for certain losses that may result from the contract no longer being enforced.

Possible criminal liability

Sometimes one party may deliberately attempt to create a contract with an intoxicated or otherwise impaired person. If someone is found to have been attempting to take advantage of another party's intoxicated state, the party who attempted to induce the intoxicated individual may face criminal charges.

Those who suspect they may have entered into a contract while lacking the ability to understand the terms of a contract in Hollwyood, Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Broward County should contact a contract lawyer with a track record of successfully handling disputes regarding signed documents. While sinister intent on the other party's behalf is not a requirement for filing an action in court, there are also cases in which the impaired party is in dire need of protection from a party who deliberately exploited the impairment. Regardless, a contract dispute lawyer can determine whether the circumstances surrounding a contract are fair and ensure that your rights are protected.

Contract Disputes

Oral contracts in Florida: Are they binding?

Updated: May 26th, 2017With the exception of contracts that are required to be in writing pursuant to Florida law – as listed below – oral agreements are binding and legally enforceable. However, just because an oral contract is enforceable does not make entering into one advisable or favorable. They're notoriously difficult to enforce, primarily because a party wishing to enforce an oral contract must first prove that it existed in the first place.

When attempting to prove the existence of an oral contract, the first question a Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale contract dispute lawyer will ask is this: Are the elements of a valid contract present? The elements of a valid contract, whether oral or written, are:

  • an offer;
  • acceptance of the offer;
  • sufficiently specific terms or a "meeting of the minds";
  • exchange of consideration


If you're trying to prove that an oral contract exists, you might begin by gathering evidence which may indicate the existence of the offer, acceptance of the offer, specific terms and exchange of consideration. Such evidence could include:

  • (a) written communications exchanged regarding the oral contract, like text messages, emails or handwritten notes
  • (b) proof of payment for goods or services, like canceled checks, pay slips, purchase orders or receipts
  • (c) testimony of any third parties present when the oral contract was formed
  • (d) proof of performance of terms of the oral contract

Assuming the party seeking to prove the existence of the oral contract has some of the above evidence, and that evidence is accepted as valid by a Ft Lauderdale court, that party's attorney must now endeavor to prove that there was a mutual understanding regarding the oral contract. It is common for two or more parties making a verbal agreement to have dramatically different perceptions of what was agreed upon. Without the agreement being reduced to writing, it is challenging to prove that any mutual understanding existed.


Mutual understanding is critical in certain life-altering transactions. For this reason, Florida law reasonably requires that certain contracts must be in writing to be enforceable. Some examples of contracts that must be in writing are:

  • contracts regarding the buying and selling of real estate
  • contracts to pay someone else's debts
  • contracts for sales of goods greater than $500.00
  • leases that have a term which is greater than twelve (12) months

For the protection of all parties in a transaction, it is preferable to reduce contractual agreements to writing whenever possible. Qualified Ft Lauderdale / Hollywood contract dispute attorneys will make sure that all of the requisite elements are present in a written contract to make it enforceable in a court of law. In the event of a dispute, the written contract will always prevail over an oral agreement.

However, if a party has already entered into an oral contract and that oral contract has been breached, a qualified attorney can assist the party in determining whether the requisite elements exist to prove existence of the contract in court. It is possible to enforce an oral contract, but the likelihood of your lawyer's success will depend greatly on the facts of the case.

Contract Disputes

The dangers of compact contracts

All businesses in all industries enter into contracts at some point, and construction companies in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood are no exception. While many business contracts are simple, like an agreement to deliver a product on a specific day, construction contracts usually are far more tricky, and need an attorney's review.


A contract is a legally binding document that lays out specific terms for a service to be performed. For a contract to be legal, all parties must receive something that is beneficial to each party’s business. For example, a construction company agrees to renovate a building. One party will benefit from the renovation while the construction company will benefit from being paid for its services.


While not an official legal term, "compound contract" is a common term used in reference to contracts used in the construction industry. These contracts are designed to "simplify" contracts that often are used when a bidding process is in place for a construction project. Often designed to be a single-side bid form, compound contracts are much more complicated than they seem.


While a compound contract appears to be simplistic, the problem often lies in the “terms and conditions.” Most simplified contracts have very casual references to their terms and conditions. These often are a mishmash of phrases taken from similar contracts or referencing different government terms and conditions. If the contractor does not have all related addendums attached to the contract, expensive legal issues are likely down the road.

A compound contract can be very confusing once you start deciphering the small print. In fact, it is not uncommon to find major contradictions in the terms and conditions of a single contract. The best way to manage risk for this type of contract is to let a commercial litigation attorney review it before you sign.


When bidding on any type of project, make sure that you are familiar with all aspects of the contract, including how legal issues will be handled in the future. Many contractors find themselves in shock when they are sued for “poor performance” a decade after a contract is finished, only to find themselves in mediation instead of in a courtroom. Sadly, the fine print in their compound contract gave the purchaser of their services these rights.

Make sure that you carefully review any warranties or guarantees that you are expected to offer as a contractor, and for what period of time. You will need to verify whether you are required to place a bond on the job prior to starting, and establishing payment protocol is a must. You also will need to check if there are employee status requirements for your workers, paperwork requirements in addition to your standard billing method, or requirements to prove that employment taxes have been filed. Each of these conditions may be found (or referenced) in the small print.

A contract – compound or regular – is a legally binding document that can be enforceable in court. A judge will never accept an allegation that you were not aware of the terms of the contract prior to signing the agreement. Always know what is contained in any contract that you are signing, and let a Fort Lauderdale contract dispute lawyer from David S. Tupler, P.A. handle your commercial disputes, giving you the best chance of a favorable outcome.