When Opening a Liquor Store, Are Zoning Legal Issues Attorney’s Responsibility?

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“My question pertains to a business that I am trying to open. I am opening a liquor store. We were all set to go and at the last minute ran into a zoning issue. My question is should the lawyer I retained to help us open this business have checked the zoning requirements of the property before we were almost ready to open? This has cost me a lot of out of pocket money and I’m wondering if it could have been avoided by more thorough leg work?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It really depends on what you hired the attorney to do. If you hired them as a zoning attorney, absolutely. On the other hand, if you hired them for something else completely unrelated to zoning, for example if you hired them as a contract attorney to review your contracts with your supplier, absolutely not.

In either case, zoning is such a fundamental issue when opening a business, that ethically, and quite likely legally, you were obligated to do your own due diligence when considering opening a business in that location.

So, is the lawyer responsible? Maybe. Are you likely to be able to get them to be held responsible for your financial losses? Unless determining zoning issues was within the scope of the services for which you hired them, and they told you that there were no issues, and you relied on those assurances probably not.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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