client servicesIn 2014, a group of current and former NFL players entered into individual client services agreements with Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) to provide each player with specified services, including bill pay. As a result of allowing large, unauthorized withdrawals from these accounts by Pro Sports Financial Inc., a financial management firm and nonparty to the lawsuit, the players have filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from BB&T in part due to its breach of the client services agreement, alleging that the bank allowed withdrawals that did not fit those authorized by the specific type of accounts opened by the players. While the lawsuit was allowed to continue on the basis of other claims, including negligence, the presiding judge dismissed the breach of contract claim made by the players as “the players could not point to actual provisions the bank violated in the client service agreement.” In other words, the bank’s allowance of these unauthorized withdrawals was not specifically barred by the client services agreement or the client services agreement did not define properly which withdrawals were allowed without specific authorization from the account holder.

Whether you are a client or a service provider, making sure your client services agreement contains the level of specificity to protect your interests is paramount to the long-term success of the agreement, which exists in large part to allocate the risks of doing business and define the scope of services.