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Contract disputes can come down to words and phrases

A picture might be worth a 1,000 words, but even one word can change the entire meaning of a document. This is especially true in contracts. Many contract disputes come down to the words and phrases in the contracts signed by Arizona companies with other parties.

When an Arizona company enters into a contract with another party or other parties, how certain provisions are worded can sometimes make or break a claim that one party violated or otherwise failed to perform under the contract. For instance, when a party is given a certain date to complete a task, provide a service or deliver some other requirement of the contract, without specific wording, that date could be interpreted as more of a suggestion that a hard deadline. Therefore, the words "time is of the essence" need to be added in order to transform an otherwise suggestive date into the hard deadline that the parties need in order to enforce the contract.

Nearly every contract provides for the resolution of disputes. Whether the parties decide to include a requirement to mediate or arbitrate a dispute prior to going to court, attorneys' fees will more than likely be incurred. If a contract says that a party "shall be entitled to" those fees in a dispute, there is no guarantee that they will be paid by the other party. Saying that the other party "shall pay" those expenses provides a guarantee.

These are just two examples of how the language of a contract can determine the path of any disputes. It would be beneficial for any company looking to enter into a contract with another party enlist the assistance and advice of a contract attorney. Without a clear understanding of how a contract can be worded to provide the party the best benefit possible, any contract disputes could result in additional losses even if the company prevails.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Killer Contract Clauses", Jack Garson, March 3, 2016

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