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Contract dispute embattles Texas freelancer

Many people work as freelance contractors, especially when it comes to creative work. With emerging technologies and the need for subject-matter experts, many Houston businesses turn to individuals who can work on a short-term or project basis. If one party does not hold up their end of the bargain, it can result in complicated contract litigation, as one Texas man is now realizing.

In 2012, an Aspen resident hired an Austin man to develop an application for a smartphone. The terms of the contract mandated the work be done in less than six weeks and the compensation would be $17,000. Of that sum, $10,000 would be paid up front. The application, dubbed "Private Text," would enable users to send encrypted text messages that would be untraceable and erased immediately.

Issues began to arise when the Austin man deposited the $10,000 check and then produced excuses, not work. After months of poor communication and little productivity, the Aspen Police Department issued a warrant for the arrest of the Austin man on felony theft charges. He turned himself in to authorities in August but issued a plea of not guilty to the charges. The prosecution alleges the defendant issued false promises, but the Austin man’s attorney notes that the issue a business dispute and that nothing illegal took place.

In this instance, both parties were right to seek legal representation. Cases involving contract disputes can become complex and even result in criminal charges, as this situation illustrates. An attorney can help pursue the best interest of his or her client, protecting assets or personal freedom.

Source: The Aspen Times, “Texas man faces theft charges in Aspen Trial,” Andre Salvail, Feb. 5, 2014

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