HOUSTON COMMERCIAL COLLECTION LAWYERS
COLLECTION OF SWORN ACCOUNTS
To properly manage and operate a successful business, as owners and managers of a business, you must be able to rely on prompt payments from clients for goods and services delivered. This is especially true for small businesses that depend on monthly revenue. Therefore, the ability to collect debts and outstanding balances from clients are essential the success your operation. When clients refuse payment or do not pay on time, not only that it affects a smooth operation, depending on the outstanding debt, it may also jeopardize your business and investment. The Houston Business Collection Lawyers and the Southwest Houston Collection of Sworn Account Attorneys can assist you matters involving breach of contracts, collection of outstanding debts, non-payment for goods and services, collection on default of lease, filing eviction suits of default lease agreements, filing mechanic’s liens and materialman’s lien affidavits, and file suit to collect debts. Please contact our Houston Business Collection Attorneys and our West Houston Commercial Collection Lawyers at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham to assist you in your collection efforts.
Because there are numerous types of business collections, the following texts are devoted to the collection of sworn accounts. All other questions regarding business collections and commercial litigation, including enforceability of your contracts or to file suit regarding business frauds, please refer to their respective sections. You are invited to contact the Houston Business Collection Lawyers and the Southwest Houston Collection Attorneys on all collection and business litigation issues. Our attorneys can be reached at 713-517-6645 or fill out our contact form by clicking on the "contact" button above.
What is a Sworn Account?
A sworn account is the outstanding balance of goods or services rendered based on a contract, written or oral, or based on the parties’ usual prices and customary way of conducting business. A law suit to collect a sworn account is called “Suit on Sworn Account.” The plaintiff has the burden of proof and must show prima facie of an existing contract, written or oral, or based on the usual and customary manner and price in which the parties have conducted business in the past. The elements for a suit on sworn account are as follows:
The plaintiff sold goods or furnished services to the defendant. The prices were just and true because they were according to the terms of the contract or they were according to the usual and customary prices if no contract existed;
The petition must show a systematic record of the transactions;
All lawful offsets, credits or payments have been applied to the account;
The account remains unpaid;
The damages are liquidated and reduced to a figure; and
The plaintiff has verified the petition under oath.
A suit on sworn account deals only with accounts where one party purchased goods or services from the other party and does not apply to collection of unpaid balances on credit cards or back rent in a lease because neither is legally considered goods or services. For collection on other type of breach of contracts, please contact the Houston Contract Lawyers and the Southwest Houston Breach of Contract Attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham
What Can I Recover Under a Suit For Sworn Account?
In a suit on sworn account, the plaintiff can recover actual liquidated damages and both pre- and post judgment interest. Because s suit on sworn account is essentially a breach of contract cause of action, an action based upon a sworn account, suit must be filed within four years of the breach. Similarly, Texas law allows the prevailing party to receive attorney’s fees and costs associated with the breach of contract even if no such provision is stated in the contract. Section 38.01 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code allows for attorney’s fees and costs in a breach of contract cause of action. Further, if the plaintiff plead and prevail in a fraud claim, such as fraud in the inducement, exemplary (punitive damages) may be recoverable.
Defenses To A Suit For Sworn Account
First, a defendant in a suit on sworn account may refute the veracity of the allegation if no contract existed and the party has not had any previous relationship. Other defenses to a suit on sworn account include allegations that the account, all or in part, is not just and true; the account is not due (no valid consideration); not all just and lawful offsets have been applied to the account. In addition, there may be affirmative defenses to the suit, such as accord and satisfaction if the parties have previously reached an agreement for the goods and services, payments made, statute of frauds, statute of limitation, and failure to mitigate damages by plaintiff.
If a suit on sworn account is verified by the plaintiff, the defendant’s answer must also be verified as well. Otherwise, the account is presumed just and true and the defendant cannot dispute the receipt of the goods or services. In addition, a defendant in a suit on sworn account can counterclaim that the plaintiff used unfair collection attempts in violation of state and/or federal law. A defendant can also assert fraud or breach of contract as a counterclaim and may be entitled to attorney fees if he prevails.
If you have been sued on a claim based upon a sworn account, you have specific legal duties to preserve all of your available defenses. Consult the Houston Suit on Sworn Account Attorneys and the West Houston Collection Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham to learn of your rights and possible defenses. If a customer has failed to pay his bill for goods or services rendered by your business, a West Houston Collection Lawyer or a Southwest Houston Collection Attorney at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham is able to counsel you on the legal landscape that lays ahead in the collection of the outstanding debt.
Each commercial litigation suit and collection account is unique depending on the fact, whether there is a contract, purchase order, or if there are previous customary transaction between the parties. The requirements and the level of proof may vary from one collection of sworn account suit to another. You should NOT rely on the information on of this web site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Business Collection Lawyers and the West Houston Collection Attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham There may be legal issues in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to contact our Houston Collection Attorneys and our Southwest Houston Collection of Sworn Account Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.
Serving Clients in Houston, West Houston, Southwest Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, Copperfield, Memorial, Spring, Northwest Houston, Northchase, Spring Cypress, Champion Forest, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, Lake Houston, Midtown, Memorial, West Oaks, Royal Oaks, Missouri City, Richmond, Pear Land, Clear Lake, League City, Westchase Business District, Harris County, and Galveston County. In addition, our Houston business attorneys also have the language ability to communicate and to translate for clients who speak Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi, and in Urdu.