The question of apparent authority stayed on the mind of a South Florida business owner when he was found liable for a faulty contract entered in by a rogue employee.
Peggy and William Post sought relief from the Florida heat and decided to install two new AC units on their properties. Acting on a recommendation from an acquaintance, they contacted Island Aire and met with Island Aire employee Sam Vandernoth to arrange for purchase and installation. Once an agreement was reached, the Posts signed an agreement provided by Vandernoth and wrote two checks totaling $3,000, both payable to Vandernoth.
After weeks passed and no work was done, the Posts contacted Vandernoth to complain and were refunded $1,000. More time passed and the Posts reached out again to demand a full refund. After silence from Vandernoth, the couple contacted Island Aire’s main office hoping for a resolution that would prove difficult to attain. They were told that Vandernoth had been fired.
Island Aire states that it was unaware of the agreement and payments that had occurred between the Posts and Vandernoth, and were unwilling to issue a refund. According to Island Aire, there had been no valid agreement nor funds received, leaving them free of responsibility. The Posts, upset over their lack of refund, took Island Aire to court and won $2,000, effectively gaining all of the money that had been stolen by Vandernoth.
Island Aire fought the ruling, asserting that Vandernoth’s actions were his own and not condoned nor encouraged by Island Aire, who ostensibly had no idea what he was doing. Island Aire rejected the Court’s decision based on apparent authority, arguing that Island Aire had never explicitly nor implicitly condoned the behavior of Vandernoth nor communicated to the Posts that Vandernoth had the authority to act as he did. Island Aire claimed the Posts were at fault for assuming Vandernoth had the authority to act on behalf of Island Aire. Of note was that the Posts made the checks payable to Vandernoth instead of to Island Aire.
The courts rejected this argument, reiterating that apparent authority did apply because Vandernoth had all the trappings of authority that included his employment by Island Aire, company uniform, company vehicle, company cell phone, and possession of blank Island Aire contracts. Furthermore, the court asserted, Island Aire had given Vandernoth the authority to enter into contractual agreements on its behalf as part of his duties.
The Posts were only right to assume Vandernoth had the authority to act as he did, and were entitled to their $2,000. Even though Vandernoth’s actions were unauthorized, they were of such a nature that third parties were entitled to rely upon them as being within his apparent authority.
Employee theft is a real problem for employers. Employers must take precautions to ensure that their employees’ do not abuse their express and apparent authority. This can be done by having employees sign agreements in which they acknowledge their authority, understand the civil and criminal penalties for exceeding their authority, and agree to reimburse the Employer for losses resulting from them exceeding their authority. In addition, employers must reinforce these limitations in periodic training sessions for all employees.
Do you have more questions about how you can protect your business? Contact Attorney Tee Persad at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-647-7887 and visit https://www.cplsbusinesslaw.com/ to see all the services we provide.
For most Americans born and raised in the United States, the American legal system can be a minefield of jargon and confusing procedures. According to West Palm Beach lawyer, from personal injury, family law, and immigration to other civil and criminal cases, your ability to understand the law and the procedures that guide it can determine if you win or lose a case.
As a Haitian immigrant fluent in Haitian Creole and an experienced attorney, I have seen how language and cultural differences influence the outcome of cases. Like other communities, it is important that the Haitian community has equal access to justice.
Fortunately, the legal system in Florida has tools to help bi-lingual individuals connect with interpreters and minimize potential disadvantages, including strict rules on Florida Jury Instructions. In the criminal justice system, interpreters can be provided for indigent defendants at no cost, and many legal forms are available in Spanish and Haitian Creole. However, even with these accommodations there is no substitute for having an attorney and a personal injury law firm that understand your community. Although well intentioned, translators simply do not have the time to spend explaining the deeper meanings of the laws and the words to their clients.
When choosing an attorney, you should feel confident that the attorney knows the disadvantages you may face as result of not being a native English speaker. Find a Haitian Creole speaking lawyer who is a part of the community and who can both explain your case to you and guide you when making important decisions.
Culturally competent legal counsel is also important when preparing clients to face jurors. In case of trial, jurors look at verbal and non-verbal expressions to determine, guilt, truthfulness, and damages. As a work injury lawyer in personal injury cases, I prepare my Haitian Creole speaking clients on how to use an interpreter and how to interact with the jury, as well as highlight to them the many cultural differences that may impact the way their message is received. This helps the client effectively communicate the truth and testify with confidence.
As a Haitian-American attorney, I am dedicated to making sure that members of the Haitian community have an equal opportunity to participate in our legal system and get justice where it is due. If you need legal assistance, email me at RCely@cplspa.com or call (407) 647-7887.
CPLS, P.A. is full service law firm with attorneys experienced in a wide range of areas, including but not limited to, immigration, Personal Injury Protection auto insurance cases, wills and estate, probate, family law, and contracts. Find out about all our services here.
Do I really want to be on Social Security Disability for the rest of my life? This actually is the one question you won’t have to ask yourself if you are dealing with a disability. When you get to the point you can’t work to pay your bills, you can’t cook proper meals for yourself, or you have trouble taking care of personal needs like using the toilet or bathing without assistance, that question will already be answered. But there is hope for those who have come to terms with the inevitable. Remember the deduction on every paycheck you’ve ever received labeled FICA tax? This is money deducted from every paycheck you receive, to help you if you become disabled. So you pay into this FICA tax system every paycheck and when you retire or get disabled, you get it all back like a savings account. Sounds simple right? Well it is a little more complicated than that. And ask anyone who has been through the process of applying and getting denial multiple times by the Social Security Administration. If that is not just to get the lost card back (get instructions at lostsscard.com) – it is not fun at all.
The first question you should ask yourself is, “Have I worked enough to be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?” If you have worked most of your life (on the books) and are middle aged or above you, will probably be fine. But if you don’t fall in that category here are some guidelines to consider. You need to have 6 credits earned in the 3 year period immediately preceding your disability if you are under the age of 24. From ages 24- 31, you need credit for 3 years of work out of the 6 years immediately preceding your disability. Anyone 31 to 42 years of age will need a total of 20 credits. And every 2 years after that the credits needed increase by 2. If you are confused about how many credits you would need to be eligible, than you are right along with most Americans today. But if you ask your attorney this question, she will be able to let you know whether you qualify or not after you answer a few questions.
The next question you need to ask yourself is, “How are credits for Social Security Disability earned?” We know Social Security takes money out of every pay check but how does this money transform into credits? Credits are based on the amount of your earnings. “In 2011, you receive one credit for each $1,120 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year. Each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase. The credits you earn remain on your Social Security record even if you change jobs or have no earnings for a while.” (Source: Socialsecurity.gov)
Now that you have this information you can decide whether or not you are eligible. So you can apply and just sit back to wait for your monthly checks to start rolling in. Right? Wrong. Most Orlando, Florida, cases take an average processing time of 502 days. (Source: socialsecuritydisability.tv/state-socialsecurity-disability/florida) And this is just after a hearing has been requested. At the Initial Application and Reconsideration levels, each case can take as long as 7 months to be processed. The whole process takes about 3 years if done correctly; it can be longer if not.
The question you need to ask your attorney is: “Are you qualified to do it correctly?”