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NY Breach of Contract and Commissions Earned Following Termination

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Famed novelist Stephen King is the subject of a recent New York breach of contract lawsuit filed in the state’s Supreme Court. The suit, brought by the author’s former attorney, is against King’s literary agents at the Arthur B. Greene Literary Agency. The attorney alleges that King’s agents convinced King to fire him and then refused to pay him commissions he is owed. These commissions relate to prior deals as well as negotiations for future deals. 

If it is not clear how commission is to be paid following termination for deals that have not yet been finalized, how will a court rule on the New York breach of contract claim? The court will likely consider the following:

  • Does the language used in the New York contract relating to the commissions have a definite and precise meaning?
  • Is there any reasonable basis for a difference of opinion as to the payment of commission for deals that have not yet been finalized?
  • When the contract is read as a whole, is the intent of the parties clear as to the payment of commission?

If the court finds that the language of the contract is clear, it will interpret the agreement based upon its plain meaning. If the court finds the language to be ambiguous, however, it will most likely find in favor of the party that did not draft the contract. Further, if the contract did not address the issue of commissions for deals that were not yet finalized at the time of termination, the case stands a good chance of being resolved in favor of the party who did not draft the agreement.

Breach of contract matters are often not black and white and require the knowledge and experience of a New York breach of contract attorney to protect your legal rights. Call our office today at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.

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