Legal Question in Business Law in California

I am Independent contractor. I was asked by a guy who had Idea for new design new part to sell. I was hired to design engineer and have made to production. He said very little money. But if I knew away to do this cheaply he would give $300 cash I would be 25 percent owner of company and if product sells $1.00 for every sold. This was over 2 years ago. I agreed but did not get in writing. I have supplier I used in China I have used for quite a while. I did what he asked. Had parts made for production. He was able to sign the two biggest retailers in US to supply, For the whole duration I kept asking for my contract. In meantime her hired 2 other gentlemen, One he made president . The other Operations Manager. He is a welder who had an idea. I did not get contract until this past May. When I received my contract, it had changed. It said I was Independent Contractor, no longer part owner, and then it stated .50 cents for only 2 years, Not $1 for every part sold. and my duties was to Design, Engineer and take part thru prototype phase and deliver satisfactory part to owner, which was completed. And it also said this contract cannot be broken for any reason. I confronted him on this and he said I will take care of you on the side and more piece price on next product. Also during the time I thought I was part owner he had me do more designs and I did a lot of work setting up logistics, making timelines to make sure enough inventory getting estimates for warehouses and prices for shipping by sea and air, at least a couple thousand hours of work, sometimes taking away from other customer jobs, All because I thought I was part owner. When he changed contract, and he has no patent . I have contract with China stating that I am sole owner of lids and sole contact. And this company I did all this for last week in a meeting that from know on they will do ordering of parts. The reason for this because I am having financial trouble and asked for a little bit of help. They said no. Since I was Independent Contractor. I gave them an Invoice for work that I have done and not been paid for. And for only enough just catch up on current bills and rent. I work from my home. I was 3 months late and coming close to being homeless . Before I went to them I tried every other possible way. The got angry said I was trying to extort and tried to email my supplier in China which they knew I had contract with and told them I was fired and that they would be making the orders from now on. I knew they would try that. I contacted my supplier earlier to warn them. Since I was lied to about being part owner and did all that work because of it. And was told that any work I did would be taken care of with better terms. Was I in the right to give them an invoice for work done, and is it illegal for them to email my supplier, that they knew I had contract with to order p[arts that I own. Thank you.


Asked on 9/29/22, 7:21 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

The key question is whether you have any proof of the deal you say you had with him? Emails? Txt? Anything? Without that you have no case. If you have proof of what you say, you have a very good case for breach of contract and probably fraud.

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Answered on 9/30/22, 6:54 am


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