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Atlanta appeals court to hear dispute concerning bicycle contract

The terms of a business contract can be highly detailed and even confusing. Understanding the way these documents are structured in Georgia is key to protecting the interests of a business and its owners. It can also prevent unnecessary and costly litigation and lawsuits. As one recent case illustrates, the agreement is often at the center of a dispute between companies.

For the past two years, two bicycle dealers have been locked in litigation regarding a lofty multimillion dollar award one party received. One side claims the situation boils down to fraud, and the other states it is a contract dispute. It began when Giant Bicycles allegedly induced the owner of Flying Fish Bikes, Frances Kane, to purchase $120,000 in bikes. A jury in Tampa, Florida, determined that Giant committed fraud because the company had plans to end the relationship with Kane and open its own store a few miles from Kane's location.

Giant has appealed the decision, which is now before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Giant states that there was no fraud and that Kane had failed to pay a substantial portion of the amount due, thus committing a breach of contract. Further, Giant and Kane’s agreement did not have any noncompete restrictions nor any mandate to disclose information regarding the possibility of Giant opening a new store.

Giant had requested a new trial after a jury awarded Kane $250,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. However, that claim was denied, as was Giant’s assertion that the dispute should be over breach of contract instead of fraud. People who have questions regarding these matters should consult with an attorney.

Source: BicycleRetailer.com, “Giant files an appeal to overturn a $3.5 million award to a Florida dealer,” March 21, 2016

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