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State and nonprofit organization in contract dispute

Florida business owners and executives know that contracts entered into with other entities can be very complex. In many situations, these complexities are not always fully realized or understood until a conflict arises. It can be interesting to see how a single contract can be interpreted differently by the parties at these times.

A situation involving a contract dispute between the State of Florida and nonprofit Sanford Burnham is a good example of this. The state is said to have made a grant to the nonprofit organization. The grant was made with specific stipulations attached to it. Among these was the requirement that Sanford Burnham would add several jobs. Specifically, Sanford Burnham is said to have promised to hire 303 new employees. To date, this has not happened. Rumors had also circulated that the organization was considering leaving its Lake Nona location.

The state has since ordered Sanford Burnham to repay the more than $77 million for lack of hiring the promised employees. The organization's legal team has responded to the state refusing to return the funds. Sanford Burnham asserts that it has made what is considered a reasonable effort to make the hires but a decline in research money and a challenging economy has made it impossible for them to do so.

When challenges to contracts occur, talking with an experienced business attorney may be helpful. It can give parties the ability to better understand what is or could be considered a breach of contract and then develop a plan to address the situation.

 

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Sanford Burnham responds to state, denies breach of contract," Naseem S. Miller, Nov. 1, 2016

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