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Contract dispute slows development in Detroit, Michigan

When the Ford Wixom site that use to sit near the intersection of Wixom Road and I-96 was demolished, developers hoped that it would not take long to begin construction and bring commercial tenants to the area. The Detroit-based Ford Motor Company even sold the majority of the land -- 240 of the 317 acres -- to a developer for that purpose. However, a contract dispute is now holding up development and reportedly making it so that people who were once interested in the land are no longer looking to build there.

The problem is not with the monetary considerations, but with the terms of the contract. The developer says that Ford agreed to clean up any pollution on the site if the deal was made. Ford had, after all, followed the laws about disclosing that there was pollution that had to be removed. Now, however, that developer claims that Ford has not done as it said it would and that the pollution is still there. Allegedly, the people who were interested in the property have seen it and decided not to go there because the pollution is so extensive.

On the other side, Ford claims that they have upheld their end of the deal and done things according to the agreement, even claiming that they are ahead of schedule with the project. Both sides have reached something of an impasse at this point.

It is necessary for the language in business contracts to very clearly state what each side is required to do, but, as this case shows, even a contract that seems to be written out perfectly cannot always prevent disputes. Corporations and individuals alike have the right to see the contract upheld as it was written. The interpretation of the words that were penned can sometimes be the only thing that keeps the job from moving forward. An experienced business and commercial law attorney can help a company fight for what they believe the contract states and implies.

Source:  Detroit Free Press, "Dispute between developer and Ford holding up Wixom site development" JC Reindl, Feb. 21, 2014

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