Unethical Companies, Frivolous Defenses to Breach of a NY Contract, and the "American Way"
Recently, I spoke with a gentleman who runs a small, but profitable, family-owned business that did a significant amount of custom work for a vendor, only to have that vendor - which is a much larger company - turn around and tell this man directly: "we're not paying you, and if you don't like it, we'll tie the case up in the courts for years." Venting his frustration at the prospects for his case (like many small businesses, he made the "mistake" of taking the defendant-vendor at his word, and in hindsight, didn't memorialize all of their understandings in writing as well as he could have) and the anticipated cost of litigating the breach of contract case in New York, the man responded as follows: "This really, really sucks. Even more depressing is that this is the âAmerican Way.â You know how it is done in the rest of the world? Well, for example, my mother in law in [Europe]Â bit into a hard candy that she bought at a department store and chipped her front tooth, just last week. She complained about it to the manager and he said 'Not to worry. Just you get that fixed and weâll pay for it, whatever the costâ¦we take care of our customers here.'Â Here they would first deny that the candy came from them, then deny that the candy caused the damage, then refer you to their legal department before even listening to whether the claim had any merit." It's people like this gentleman that motivate me to do what I do. And he is precisely the type of person that the legal system (should be) designed to help.