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As far as whether the 10% applies to the amount that the contractor actually collected or to the original amount of the contract, that is an issue that depends on the exact wording of the contract between the contractor and the client. If there is an ambiguity on this point, it has be decided by the court based on what is customary in that line of work or business.
As far as collecting your money from the contractor, I would suggest that you or your lawyer send a demand letter threatening a civil conversion action if he does not at least pay you your 10% of the amount he collected on the 4th payment.
To make out a conversion claim, a you must establish four elements:
- First, that the plaintiff owns or has the right to possess the personal property in question at the time of the interference;
- Second, that the contractor intentionally interfered with the plaintiff's personal property (described as exercising "dominion and control" over it);
- Third, that the the interference deprived the plaintiff of possession or use of the personal property in question; and
- Fourth, that the interference caused damages to the plaintiff.
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