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Contract dispute over barge commissions lands in Texas court

Texas contract disputes come in all shapes and sizes. Often certain business services are paid by commission upon completion of the agreement's terms. When payment is not made, the party aggrieved sometimes files a breach of contract lawsuit to recover monetary damages for the claimed failure to honor an agreement. And when the purported contract is not in writing, the person relying on the agreement must first prove there was one and then show that it was breached.

A case down in Galveston underscores the point. A marine surveyor claims he had an oral agreement with a ship and repair company for brokerage commission said to be earned on the sale of three barges. In a lawsuit filed in the County District Court on Oct. 17, the surveyor alleges he entered into a verbal contract in July 2007 for the construction and sale of four barges. The man claims that all four barges were built and sold, but the ship builder only paid the 1 percent commission on one sale. The surveyor now seeks over $47,000 in commissions for the other three transactions.

The surveyor says he has performed his part of the deal, but the ship builder has failed and refused to honor the deal, resulting in a breach of contract. The case is pending before a judge in the Galveston 10th County District Court and seeks monetary damages and attorney's fees. A request for a jury trial has also been entered.

The case will now proceed to discovery as the lawyers prepare their cases for trial while also likely exploring the possibility of settlement. While it remains to be seen how the lawsuit will unfold, it serves as a good opportunity to note that those Texas residents encountering business and commercial disputes do have solid options in terms of legal consultation. Seeking out such counsel can help in assessing liability and devising a strategy aimed at optimal results.

Source: Southeast Texas Record, "Construction, sale of barges subject of breach of contract suit," John Suayan, Oct. 27, 2011