What would I be legally liable for? 7 Answers as of January 09, 2014I signed a contract with someone in 2011, in this contract, I received a video camera and in exchange for the camera, I am to film 10 projects with the person who gave it to me with them as an actor in a leading role. The contract states that I am not to pay this person back in monetary funds for the camera, but if I don't complete the contract with in 6 years I would be held "legally Liable" but the contract does not state what I would be legally liable for. So far, we have done 2 out of 10 projects. This person and I have had disagreements and they have written threatening emails, but I have managed to smooth things over and get everything back on track, but I do fear for my safety. If I am unable to complete the contract, what would I be held legally liable for since the contract does not say? And what should I do about this person trying to harm me.
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
You need to retain legal counsel to review the contract and related documents, including any threats made for your safety. The remedy for breach of contract could include both actual and consequential damages-including any revenues lost by the actor because you failed to film projects as requested. The damages for breach of contract could far exceed the value of the camera. One possibility would be to negotiate a termination of the contract, pursuant to which you would return the camera in exchange for an agreement that the contract is rescinded. Alternatively, if you truly fear for your safety, you could defend against breach of contract claims on ground of impossibility. But people have agreements all the time. The best approach here would be to smooth things over and meet your contractual obligations. Otherwise, you could face significant contractual liability.
Answer Applies to: New York
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
If you believe that this person is truly threatening you and you fear for your safety, call the police. Since the term of the contract is not yet over and the requisite number of films could still be made, you will have to decide if you want to pull out of the deal. If the two of you can't come to an agreement to split up, the other party can take you to court and have a judge decide what to do. There are many possible outcomes. However, no one is obligated to continue in a contract when there is a true threat of danger to their well-being.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
This is what happens when non-lawyers write contracts. Ten projects with anyone is way too much. That is unreasonable. If they are one-minute projects, that might make sense. But anything more than that is unreasonable. It seems to me like the most you might be responsible for is returning the camera in good condition. How about trying to get a paying gig using the camera, use the money to purchase your own camera, and return the camera? You have done 2 out of 10 projects with this actor and it is already a nightmare. You can either return the camera and write a good letter that formally ends the contract, or you can keep working with the actor and keep the camera. My thought is the sooner you can get your own camera and move on, the better. You need to judge whether your safety is actually endangered. A lot of not very professional actors are tempestuous. If the behavior goes beyond that to where you feel actually threatened, you might be best returning the camera and severing relations.
Answer Applies to: California
WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
This answer is based on the assumption that you are in GA. If not, resubmit your question and list the applicable state. I would need to read the entire contract to give you a reliable answer. If you have valid reasons, as determined by a court - not by you, to not complete the contract, and if that is caused by them, and not by you, you may have a complete defense to the contract. Perhaps. If you are in breach of the contract, you could be liable for the cost of them to hire another and complete the contract. I suggest you contact them and negotiate an end to the contract under terms that are mutually acceptable. It may be as simple as returning the camera to them and parting ways. I would need to read the entire contract to give you a reliable answer.
Answer Applies to: Georgia