Business Litigation Matters

Business Litigation MattersWhen Wilmington attorney Wesley Scott Jones takes on a case, his goal is to handle the matter swiftly and effectively.  As a business and lawyer and litigator, Wesley appreciates that his clients want to get back to business, not spend their valuable time in a courtroom. Over the years, attorney Jones has represented both plaintiffs and defendants from large and small businesses, including family-owned businesses, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Sole Proprietors, and Franchises, both big and small in District Court, Superior Court, Federal Court and in Mediation.  Learn more about Business Litigation Services from Wesley Jones.

Whether the business owner is a new or experienced professional, the wide variety of issues that can escalate into a legal dispute is truly amazing.  That is why it makes sense to retain the services of a skilled litigator, just in case.  In recent years, Attorney Jones has represented clients throughout the courtrooms of southeastern North Carolina, in matters such as:

  • Account Collection
  • Breach of Contract
  • Breach of Corporate Duty
  • Business Judgment Rule
  • Contract Disputes
  • Collection of Past Due Accounts
  • Deceptive Trade Practices
  • Deceptive Business Practices
  • Debt Collection
  • Delinquent Accounts
  • False Statements
  • Franchisor-Franchisee Disputes
  • Fraud
  • Interference with Contracts or Business Relations
  • Judgment Recovery
  • Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
  • Misrepresentation
  • Negligent Misrepresentation
  • Nonpayment
  • Ownership Disputes
  • Partnership Disputes
  • Payment Disputes
  • Piercing the Corporate Veil
  • Torts
  • Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
  • Unfinished Work
  • Undelivered Goods

Most everyone going into a business or construction deal is usually hopeful and excited about the anticipated end result.  Ensure smooth sailing for your business and gain piece of mind with a little help from the Law Office of Wesley Scott Jones.  To learn more about the services his firm provides, please call lawyer Wesley Jones today at 910-256-5800 for a free consultation.

Wesley Jones is a Litigation Lawyer serving all of Southeastern North Carolina including  New Hanover County (e.g. Wilmington, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and the areas of Ogden, Masonboro, Myrtle Grove, Landfall, and Mayfair), all of Pender County (e.g. Burgaw, Surf City, Hampstead and Topsail Beach) and all of Brunswick County (e.g. Bald Head Island, Bolivia, Calabash, Leland, Shallotte, Southport, Saint James, Ocean Isle, and Oak Island).

TIPS FOR BUSINESS STARTUPS IN WILMINGTON, NC

An Attorney reviewing documents with clients.When taking the leap to start a business, it pays to have a few skilled professionals behind you. Although you may be a natural with managing finances and employees along with marketing and delivering the goods or services the firm will provide, there’s true piece of mind when all of the bases are truly covered. Local business attorney Wesley Scott Jones has helped hundreds of clients in the greater Wilmington area develop a blueprint for success.

As with most endeavors, creating a foolproof plan is key.  With that idea in mind, please consider these tips for streamlining a business startup.

  • Hire an attorney, such as Wes, who is well versed in all aspects of business and contract law.
  • Hire a local accountant who is also familiar with the territory.  As a business owner, you will discover that in the long run, having experts on your team in those two disciplines is priceless.

Next, your attorney and accountant will be able to advise and guide you on aspects such as:

  • Structuring your business entity
  • Registering with the local, state, and federal tax offices
  • Protecting yourself from deadbeat clients (See: Collection of Past Due Accounts)
  • Preparing for employee issues, such as Noncompetition Agreements, Independent Contractor Agreements, Employment Agreements, and defining your responsibilities to those individuals
  • Contract drafting
  • Draft and implement company policies, including terms of service, disclosure, and privacy matters
  • Financial aspects such as payroll, income tax forms, profit and loss statements

Please note that the above tips are merely suggestions and each company will have its own list of areas to address. Because every business is unique and laws and financial guidelines vary state by state and even county by county, having skilled professionals at your disposal is just the responsible thing to do.

Attorney Wesley Scott Jones would be happy to discuss more about the essential steps you’ll need to consider for your specific company.  To schedule an appointment for a free consultation please give his office a call at now 910-256-5800.

Wesley Jones is a Business Lawyer serving all of Southeastern North Carolina including  New Hanover County (e.g. Wilmington, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and the areas of Ogden, Masonboro, Myrtle Grove, Landfall, and Mayfair), all of Pender County (e.g. Burgaw, Surf City, Hampstead and Topsail Beach) and all of Brunswick County (e.g. Bald Head Island, Bolivia, Calabash, Leland, Shallotte, Southport, Saint James, Ocean Isle, and Oak Island).

Proper File Management in Your Construction Firm

Construction FilingIn today’s world of hi-tech communication, some may think the concepts of establishing a “paper trail” and “getting it in writing” are almost obsolete. Some construction professionals assume it’s enough to have a well-executed contract and rely on text messages and e-mails to communicate with clients, vendors, inspectors, and subcontractors during a building project. Regardless of the job, there should always be a solid documentation process that is well understood and executed to the letter by you and all of your employees.

For the uninitiated, grasping the amount of paperwork involved for a building project, even a simple one-can be mind-boggling. From the job’s initial proposal to the final walk-through, the number of documents and forms is sizeable. Consider a few of these items that must be accounted for, especially if there are ever any legal issues that arise, before, during, or even after the work is complete: proposals, estimates, supply receipts, surveys, inspections, pay stubs, building plans, and all correspondence among all of the parties involved in the endeavor. Communications that rely on digital media and e-mails must also be accounted for.

When a business owner understands what is known in legal terms as the “discovery process,” he or she can then appreciate why thorough documentation of every step is vital. Of course no one ever expects to face legal trouble. However, in the construction industry, there are just too many factors at play to take any chances. To set things up for smooth sailing, there are just a few necessary procedures to follow. The idea of such in-depth record keeping may seem over the top at first, however, if and when a lawsuit rears its ugly head, you’ll be glad the system was in place.

In the act of discovery, information is obtained using all means and methods. This fact-finding is an integral part of prosecuting or defending a lawsuit. Questions are posed by the plaintiff’s legal team, and with the assistance of your attorney, the answers are provided. This will require the production of any or all documents that pertain to any or all phases of the project. It is important to understand that in the discovery period, items may be requested that do not even seem relevant to the case, however, you will be responsible for making them available. A few examples of typical requested articles are:

  • Hand written notes, personal or business calendars, and e-mails
  • Communications in any form sent by one of your employees to anyone involved in the job, from the client to the subcontractors. Even if the individuals had a friendship or causal acquaintanceship, their transmissions may be viewed as admissible in a court of law.
  • Meeting minutes

For the sake of discovery, all documents, including notes jotted down on post-in notes or scrap paper and personal journals can be requested.

To cover all your bases, a system for recording all aspects of the project must be in place.

Creating a system such as this is just as important as developing your contractual documents and is another example of why retaining legal counsel is essential for success. It’s a preventive measure that equates to wearing a seat belt, bike helmet, or installing smoke alarms. Protect yourself with an ironclad document filing system!

Here are the steps to consider:

  • Familiarize each employee with the proper procedures for acquiring and filing all paperwork, including e-mails. Ensure that everyone is using the same system for filing whether it’s for paper records or e-mail folders. Also stress that keeping detailed, chronological information is the only way to do it. Encourage everyone to ask if they are ever unsure about the company’s record-keeping system.
  • Stress the importance of establishing detailed and clear contracts and proposals. The procedure should follow a logical progression and if one step is skipped, such as unclear points that go unanswered or failure to sign a document, then the process stops until the issue is resolved. Consistency and accountability are the keys to success.
  • Know your employees and monitor any inappropriate behavior such as posts on social media sites. Also, insist that they enter all work related items into the company’s computer system rather than keeping it on their personal computer, even if the computer was provided by the firm.
  • Keep a special, separate file marked “Problems” or “Unresolved Issues”. If any one, including a client, supplier, subcontractor, employee or inspector voices concern or displeasure during any phase of the work-document it. Having access to such details could be vital if the issue escalates and winds up in a legal dispute.
  • When matters from the “Problem File” result in further action being taken, move the paperwork regarding those activities to another special folder labeled, “Legal”. This information should also be kept separate from the other files and ideally in a different location to prevent inadvertent disclosure.
  • Finally, explain to all employees that when creating e-mails, letters, faxes, social site posts, or even phone conversations, that the “Grandmother Rules” should be followed. That is, mind your manners, follow the Golden Rule, when in doubt-don’t, and treat everyone with respect.

If you would like to discuss ways to mange your construction firm’s files and important papers, Wilmington attorney Wesley Scott Jones is just a phone call away. Wes has represented numerous construction and home building  professionals in the greater Wilmington area, including architects, developers, contractors, and subcontractors. His office is located in beautiful Lumina Station across from Landfall just before the Wrightsville Beach bridge in Wilmington, NC. Please, call today for a free consultation – 910-256-5800.

New Hanover County Construction Litigation

Construction BlueprintsThis has been a busy year for home builders and subcontractors in New Hanover County and the surrounding area. In fact, compared to this time last year, construction activity is up between 4 and 5 percent.  There are scores of new residential developments going up, both in the single-family and multi-family markets. Current homeowners are also enlisting the help of home improvement professionals to update and upgrade their properties.

In the multi-faceted process of home construction, whether the task at hand is new construction, renovation, or an addition, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. As a local attorney for contractors in Wilmington, Wesley Scott Jones understands all too well the variety of difficulties that can crop up during construction projects. You may have had excellent communication and an ironclad contract, but unforeseen issues can cause major financial headaches plus major inconveniences.

Here are just a few examples of problems that can arise:

  • faulty construction
  • improper permitting
  • work delays
  • bid protests
  • labor issues
  • failure to meet local codes and/or OSHA requirements
  • construction defects that can lead to safety and health problems such as leaks and mold
  • HOA disputes

Wes has represented numerous building professionals in the greater Wilmington area, including architects, developers, contractors, and subcontractors. If you have concerns that could require an experienced, knowledgeable litigator, please contact our office.

We are located in beautiful Lumina Station across from Landfall just before the Wrightsville Beach bridge in Wilmington, NC. There is easily accessible, free parking. Call us today for a free consultation: 910-256-5800.

Eviction Attorney in Wilmington, NC

Eviction Attorney in Wilmington NCIn the state of North Carolina, landlords wishing to evict tenants must use what is known as the “summary ejectment process.” Evicting individuals and/or families from either commercial or residential leased property is something that is taken very seriously in the Old North State. In fact, the court system tends to rule in favor of the tenants, more often than not, especially in cases of residential rentals.

In order for a magistrate to issue an eviction notice, the landlord must provide proof that all of the requirements for the summary ejectment statute have been followed, such as proper notice to the tenant. These matters are handled in small claims court and require valid reasons for the eviction. Examples of justification are:

  • The tenant(s) have been found guilty of engaging in criminal activity
  • The rent is past due and the responsible party has been given a 10-day extension in which to pay the amount in full
  • The lease has expired and the renter(s) refuse to leave the property
  • Some requirement of the signed lease has been not been met, for which eviction is the agreed upon consequence

After the decision to follow through with the eviction process is made, the landlord next files what’s known as a “Complaint in Summary Ejectment.” For cases in which rent in the amount of $5,000 or less is past due, the landlord can seek reimbursement in small claims court.

The tenant is notified about the complaint through the sheriff’s office. If money is owed, the tenant will be served with court papers in person. Otherwise, the official eviction notice is posted on the rental property premises. A hearing conducted in a court of law by a magistrate is the next step. At that time, it will be determined if the landlord will be able to regain possession of the property.

When it is discovered that the landlord is entitled to evict the tenant(s), the renter(s) will have 10 days to file an appeal in district court. The magistrate will determine how much of the past-due rent the tenant(s) must pay, which will then be posted as bond. The ongoing responsibility of rent must also be taken care of. When an appeal fails to take place, the clerk of the court may then issue a Writ of Possession so the sheriff can legally evict the tenant.

So, if you are having problems with a renter, avoid the temptation to just change the locks! To resolve these matters, the proper procedure must be followed.  Attorney Wes Scott Jones is experienced in these matters and will be happy to discuss your situation. Please call Wes to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at 910-256-5800.

Commercial Landlord Legal Representation

Commercial Landlord Legal RepresentationAs a commercial landlord in the state of North Carolina, you may not be aware that trying to handle issues on your own can potentially make matters worse. For example, accepting late payments from commercial tenants can possibly lead to a loss of your rights to terminate the lease or take possession of the property.

In matters of commercial rentals, it is recommended to use the advice of an experienced business attorney, especially when you’re faced with landlord-tenant disputes.

If you are leasing commercial property, having Wilmington attorney Wesley Scott Jones on your team can help prevent a number of headaches later on down the road. As a skilled litigator, business and construction lawyer with extensive experience in commercial real estate matters, Wes is also well-versed in matters pertaining to creating and reviewing contracts, serving as a consultant during disputes, the eviction process, and, should it become necessary, court cases. Over the years, Wes has successfully assisted local businesses including retailers, restaurants, offices, and other commercial establishments resolve matters including:

  • Overdue rent
  • Property damage
  • Breach of lease
  • Illegal activity on premises
  • Evictions

In these matters, it’s always best to try and resolve problems before they become a bigger problem. To learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a commercial landlord, please call our office at 910-256-5800 or email us in order to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Wes Jones.

LITIGATION TERMS EXPLAINED

ContractRegardless of how many episodes of Boston Legal, Law and Order, or Judge Judy you may have watched, there are scores of legal terms that are often misunderstood.

In an effort to reduce confusion, it’s a good idea to review a legal glossary now and then.  Here are a few words from the legal lexicon which you should know if heading to court.

COMPLAINT – The first document filed to start most types of civil lawsuits.  It is filed by the Plaintiff.

PLAINTIFF – The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a Complaint.

CIVIL SUMMONS – The document attached to the Complaint that is served upon you by the Plaintiff (typically by sheriff or by certified mail) that informs you of the filing of the lawsuit against you.

ANSWER – The document filed in response to the Complaint.  It is filed by the Defendant.

DEFENDANT – The party who drafts and files an Answer in response to a Complaint.

ALLEGATIONS – Factual statements made in a Complaint or an Answer that constitutes true and accurate statements of fact.

COUNTERCLAIM – The document filed by a Defendant making Allegations against a Plaintiff.  This party is called a Third-Party Plaintiff.

Motion – Typically a written request to a judge seeking a ruling of law in favor of the moving party – i.e. the Plaintiff or the Defendant.

BRIEF – A written document drafted by an attorney in support of a Motion.

TORT – A civil injury or wrong to someone’s person or property.

BREACH OF CONTRACT – A civil injury or wrong involving a party’s rights and obligations under a contract.

For help in understanding legal terms that may be relevant to you or your business, please contact Attorney Wesley Jones in Wilmington, North Carolina : 910-256-5800.  All initial phone consultations are free.

Wesley Jones is a Litigation Lawyer serving all of Southeastern North Carolina including  New Hanover County (e.g. Wilmington, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Landfall, and Mayfaire), all of Pender County (e.g. Burgaw and Topsail Beach) and all of Brunswick County (e.g. Bolivia, Southport, Ocean Isle, and Oak Island).

The Law Office of Wesley Scott Jones, P.c. on Citysearch

Avoiding Disputes Over Past Due Accounts

Avoiding Disputes over Past Due AccountsAs a Wilmington attorney for a variety of business owners and operators throughout southeastern N.C., Wesley Scott Jones has handled numerous disputes over past due notices.

For over-burdened business owners, handling past-due accounts can be a thankless, time-consuming task. That’s why so many firms choose to take action only when receivables are 90 days or more past due. This tactic may result in limiting your cash flow and profits.

In an effort to assist the parties involved before it becomes a legal issue, Wes has a few suggestions:

  • Stay on top of unpaid receivables and create a safety net in the form of a tighter credit policy.
  • Set up an accounts receivable aging report so you’ll be able to recognize non-payment patterns before thy get out of control.
  • AllBusiness.com reports that, “Studies reveal that the likelihood of collecting receivables drops drastically as time goes on-from more than 90 percent after 30 days to 74 percent after 90 days and just 50 percent after six months.” With that in mind, establish a policy that any customer 35 days past due, will receive a friendly phone call as a reminder.
  • Since missed payments can and do happen, consider working out a specific deal with a customer who’s honestly had a cash flow issue. Establish a realistic payment schedule and identify a pay-off goal day. Have it legally drafted and both parties must sign in front of witnesses. Only do this for very special cases.
  • Follow up courtesy calls by mailing past-due notices and letters by regular mail – not e-mail! Sometimes a little humor can go a long way, such as a postcard with an appropriate graphic and a message like, “Please pay your bill so I can pay mine.”  Always include a phone number in case the customer needs to explain his or her situation.

If 90 days or more have passed and you still have not received payment, it’s time to contact the office of Wesley Scott Jones: 910-256-5800. Let Wes help you recoup past due accounts in a legal manner that will deliver results.

Related Post:

Collection of Past Due Accounts

Litigation Services in Wilmington, NC

Litigation AttorneyWesley Scott Jones is a local attorney with a high degree of expertise in the multi-faceted process of litigation. As an experienced trial lawyer, Wes is able to represent plaintiffs and defendants in District, Federal, and Superior Court.

The key to attorney Jones’ success is his experience in managing all phases of the litigation process such as investigation, pleadings and discovery, pre-trial responsibilities, trial and courtroom proceedings, settlement and the appeal process.

As a litigator, attorney Jones specializes in:

Each case comes with its own unique set of circumstances, which is why Wes goes the extra mile in conducting in-depth investigations to ensure there is enough evidence to file a lawsuit. This procedure involves having a thorough interview with the client, locating witnesses, taking their statements, gathering documents, checking and re-checking the facts that resulted in the dispute. During these proceedings, it may become apparent that a pre-litigation settlement can resolve the issue before a lawsuit is even filed.

If you are considering hiring Wes as your litigator, here’s a quick look at the Basic Breakdown of the Litigation Process:

Pleadings – During this phase, the facts are reviewed prior to drafting a wide variety of pleadings and motions on behalf of the client. Formal complaints and official summons documents are also formulated at this time. Whether the client is the plaintiff or the defendant, allegations are investigated, responses are discussed, and a number of motions may be drafted including motions to strike, dismiss, amend or change venue and motions for judgment on the pleadings.

Discovery – This is when the litigation attorney gathers information and evidence that is relevant to the case. The discovery process is a vital step litigators use to find out the facts relating to the problem, identify the extenuating circumstances, and developing a strategy for how the case should proceed.

Pre-Trial – During this stage, attorney Jones will consult with and advise clients; acquire expert witnesses, attend pre-trial conferences and develop a trial strategy based on the facts and evidence. Pre-trial work also requires working with key witnesses, preparing trial exhibits, articulating arguments and pre-trial motions.

Trial – The good news is most lawsuits are settled before they come to trial. However, when cases cannot be resolved, attorney Jones is well-versed and extremely experienced in all such matters including witness and jury preparation, identifying the case’s strengths and weaknesses, using them to their fullest potential, and the art of persuasive reasoning.

Settlement – As a litigator, Wes always has the best interests of his clients in mind, which is why seeking a settlement as opposed to going to trial, is a worthy goal. Cases settled out of court usually always save both parties a great deal of time and expense. To ensure that clients are satisfied when a settlement is the solution, Wes conducts an extensive number of mediation and settlement conferences with both parties and the judge to ensure the best outcome is reached.

Appeal – When a favorable outcome is not reached, then Wes may consider appealing the case.

If you would like to meet with Wes to discuss whether or not legal action is the next step, please call the office at 910-256-5800 to set up a consultation.

Attorney for General Contractors in Wilmington, NC

Attorney for General Contractor, Wilmington NCJust a few years ago, many local contractors experienced devastating slumps in their business. In order to stay afloat, it became necessary for Wilmington builders to cut expenses wherever possible, which is understandable. Fortunately, in 2012, it appeared that the housing market finally turned the corner. In the past few months, home sales have been brisk and housing starts are surging. In fact, based on recent data from the Case-Schiller Indices, the website, www.moneyinsider.com, announced that the Port City is one of 15 U.S. metro areas expected to see continued gains from now through 2018!

That’s why now is a good time to consider retaining a local attorney who is skilled at handling the legal ins and outs that those in the field of construction face on a daily basis. Wilmington attorney Wesley Scott Jones understands the toll that legal snarls can have on your business and reputation. Here are just a few of the construction law services attorney Jones assists local builders with on a daily basis:

Contracts – Devising legal and binding contracts that cover all the bases, including your payment schedule, is vital in the construction industry. Wes can help create contracts that protect you, your customers, and subcontractors. With all of the possible things that can go wrong during a building project, it is best not to take any chances. Having an iron clad contract can provide a series of reference points and may even serve as a built-in checklist. Developing a comprehensive contractual document can protect you from a variety of issues and provide true piece of mind.  Wes Jones can also provide support and litigation services  to help settle contract disputes that may arise for a variety of reasons.

Permits – As any experienced builder will tell you, the process of obtaining proper permits for your projects is essential for success. Since time is money, this is another area where retaining the services of a local lawyer familiar with the process can save a bundle in the long run.

Subcontractor Issues – Contractors serve as employers to a variety of workers or subcontractors. Specifically, a building contractor who is an employer must take steps to make sure that employees are authorized to work in the United States. This is a requirement of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and this department requires employers to provide documentation. If an employer fails to check the employee’s status, the employer can incur substantial penalties.

Insurance coverage for these temporary employees must also be addressed.

Quality Standards – Having an attorney on your team is very helpful when there are any questions regarding the quality of workmanship. Attorney Jones can help establish the parameters that measure these types of guidelines. Defective workmanship is one of the most frequent claims made against builders.

In addition to these concerns, Wes can also suggest ways to avoid legal points involved with other aspects, including inspections, home warranties, and weather delays or damages.

Since building a new home or business is a huge undertaking and for your clients, one of the largest financial commitments they will probably ever make, having an experienced attorney on board conveys your integrity as a builder. To learn more about how attorney Wes Scott Jones can improve your business dealings, please contact our office at 910-256-5800.