Huntington Park, CA asked in Legal Malpractice, Employment Law, Business Formation and Business Law for California

Q: Hired as an independent contractor, but now owner claims that I was a partner after trying to receive payment. Legal?

I was hired by company to run Tournament events. The company wants to contract me to run tournamemt events. With work product created, I provided the company with this service. After creating an FBN and EIN for the sole purpose of getting paid for services I provided, I asked for payment by giving invoices to owner. Owner's CPA gave me a "consultant agreement" that I declined cause it would stop me from providing any tournament events as an independent contractor. Now, company claims that I worked as a partner and is writing a settlement agreement for all the intellectual property I have created, offering a lot less money than was agreed upon, and threaten me to stop conducting my services for myself and anyone else any time in the future. How is being a partner possible if I never presented myself as a partner or was told that I am one without my consent?

4 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You are free to sue for your fees as an independent contractor, if that is what you were. Even as an independent contractor, if you created intellectual property during the course of those duties, that property would likely belong to the person who contracted with you to create it.

Neil Pedersen agrees with this answer

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
Answered
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You need to consult with a business litigation attorney who is also familiar with employment law. It is conceivable that you could be a partner under certain circumstances, but it is far more likely you were not. Only an attorney able to know all of the fact will be able to tell you, and also provide you with some guidance about how to proceed.

Good luck to you.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan
Answered
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It seems unlikely that you would be a partner. It would be important to review written agreements if any and a timeline of events. An attorney can help you put your case in the best posture and see what strategic alternatives you have to be paid properly for you intellectual property. Your statement gives the impression that the company is operating in bad faith. It is a safe bet that the settlement agreement is not written with your best interests in mind. Negotiating a settlement is not a do-it-yourself project. A good start would be to contact an attorney who offers an initial free consultation.

Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker
Answered
  • Costa Mesa, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your matter is way to complicated for any attorney to give you an accurate review on this site. You need to draft a written outline of the events, with the relevant documents attached, and email it to an attorney. Most attys will spend their own time reviewing your outline and documents for free, then talk to you about the facts/law and prospects of the case.

As a general rule: Written agreements govern parties' intentions and legal relationships. However, a party's actual conduct may be even better proof of a party's intentions and legal relationships.

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