Contract Drafting

News & Analysis as of

Contra Proferentem Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Against the Insurer’

Despite best efforts, ambiguities are inevitable in contracts. The doctrine of contra proferentem shifts the risk of ambiguity to the party that drafted the contract. The doctrine is frequently applied against insurers where...more

Setting the Right Expectations for your Owner Client– Craft your Scope of Work well (law note)

Regular readers of this blog know that you absolutely should have a written contract, and not rely on “gentlemen’s agreements.” But what is the most important part of your agreement to provide professional services? The...more

South Carolina Supreme Court Decision Impacts Enforceability of Arbitration Provisions in New Residential Construction Sales...

On July 6, 2016, the South Carolina Supreme Court filed its Opinion No. 27645, captioned Smith v. D.R. Horton, Inc., in which it affirmed the Court of Appeals' refusal to compel arbitration between new home purchasers and the...more

Sons of Cyberlock: Recent Decisions Underscore Challenges in Drafting Enforceable Federal Contracting Teaming Agreements

Teammates pursuing federal contracts should draft their teaming agreements with care to avoid unintended consequences. The Pitfalls of Non-Specific Teaming Agreements - Among other issues, teammates cannot...more

Use of English in contractual documents between two French companies

Two legal persons governed by French private law may, by mutual agreement, draft their contractual documents in the English language. On 30 May 2016, the Commercial Practices Review Commission (hereinafter the ‘CEPC’ –...more

New Federal Trade Secret Statute Requires Important Updates To Contracts And Policies

With the recent passage of the Defense of Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), businesses are welcoming the many benefits the statute brings, including federal jurisdiction, robust equitable relief, and the ability to recover...more

Let's Talk North Carolina Leases: The Name of the Game Is the Correct Name

A lease is a contract. It is a contract in which the lessor (think, landlord or tenant/sublandlord) grants to another person or entity, called the lessee (think, tenant/sublandlord or subtenant), the right to possess and use...more

[Webinar] Cloud licensing and health care data: Know the risks, learn the solutions - July 13th, 12:00pm CT

As identity theft and malicious attacks against clinical providers increase, more and more health care data is stored in the digital cloud. The health care industry is required to take special precautions when licensing...more

Challenging Arbitral Awards – Who’s the Boss and What Can It Do?

Appealing High Court decisions under the Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act) may be restricted following a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal. In Integral Petroleum SA v Melars Group Limited (2016 EWCA Civ 108), the Court of...more

Drafting Bylaws – Four Things To Consider

Four points to consider when drafting these often crucially important, but tiresome, documents: - Distinguish among Shall/Will/Must. I often cite Bylaws as an example of how “shall” may sometimes mean “must” while other...more

Even Conduct That Is Not Barred by a Contract Can Lead to Contract Damages

In Exercising Contractual Rights Can Be Risky If It Is for an Ulterior Purpose, I discussed how a business can subject itself to multiple damages and attorneys’ fees under Mass. General Laws, Chapter 93A if it attempts to...more

Any Amendment Must be in Writing, Signed by the Parties - Sometimes Contracts Quite Literally Do Not Mean What They Say

The English Court of Appeal recently held that an express clause in a contract requiring that any amendment be in writing and signed by the parties does not preclude oral or unsigned amendments to the contract. In holding...more

Lessee Escapes Termination

Escondido and Justapor. Next up on Tiny Desk Concert? Good guess, but no. They are the parties in Escondido v. Justapor, a Texas case presenting the perils of lease termination clauses and vaguely-drawn contracts....more

Subcontractor Not Entitled to Payment After Refusal to Perform Disputed Extra Work

In the hustle and bustle of completing a construction project it can be easy to overlook the importance of the contract.  However, when a dispute arises the contract generally dictates the outcome of that dispute.  A recent...more

Fourth Circuit: Courts, Not Arbitrators, Decide the Availability of Class Arbitration

A decision allowing class-wide arbitration can transform a routine dispute into a “bet the company” problem. Who makes that decision: an arbitrator or a court? The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals answered that question...more

Defend Trade Secrets Act Signing Means It May Be Time to Update Form Agreements

President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”) on May 11, 2016. With his signature, your company’s standard employee intellectual property agreements, third party non-disclosure agreements and other...more

South Carolina Court of Appeals Says 150-Mile Geographic Restriction in Non-Compete is Unreasonable

South Carolina courts evaluate the enforceability of non-compete provisions executed in the employment context and in connection with the sale of the business under the same reasonableness test. To be enforceable in South...more

Long-term supply (and off-take) agreements: some recent themes

This Client Alert seeks to highlight certain recurring issues and themes arising in the context of long-term commodity supply and off-take agreements. It draws upon the recent collective experience of our lawyers as well as...more

Non-Compete Agreements Cannot be "Reasonable-ized" by Court--Even with the Parties' Consent

Yesterday, the Supreme Court stiffened its stern treatment of non-compete agreements. At issue in Beverage Systems was a non-compete clause that allowed the trial court to modify its geographic scope if the court determined...more

Express Yourself! Ongoing Split Over Class Arbitration Points to Importance of Clear Provisions

Despite the numerous Supreme Court decisions limiting class arbitrations, one central issue remains undecided: who decides whether an arbitration agreement permits class arbitration, the courts or the arbitrators? Entities...more

A Troubling Decision for Employment Arbitration Agreements with Potentially Ambiguous Language and What it Means for Employers...

On April 5, 2016, in a rare rebuke of an employment arbitration agreement by a federal court, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Hon. Madeline Cox Arleo, U.S.D.J.) held that it would not compel...more

North Carolina’s Strict Blue Pencil Doctrine is Written in Ink: The Supreme Court Rules That Courts Cannot Revise Noncompete...

The North Carolina Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) recently reiterated that North Carolina courts may not revise overly broad restrictions in noncompetition agreements, overturning a Court of Appeals decision that had...more

Beware the “Non-Exclusive” Arbitration Clause

“Non-exclusive” arbitration clauses provide that disputes “may” be referred to arbitration (rather than “shall” or “should” be so referred). The Privy Council clarified the nature of these clauses in a recent case but...more

Getting Full Value out of Noncompete Agreements

Increasingly, companies are having employees sign noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements in order to protect the company, and its customer base, should the employee leave the company. These agreements are clearly...more

Utah Enacts Post-Employment Restrictions Act

A growing number of states are tightening conditions on restrictive covenants.  The start of 2016 saw Oregon and Alabama enact higher barriers to the enforcement of non-compete agreements in those states. As of March 22,...more

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