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Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4612
Experience:  13+ years of experience
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Hello, I have a small LLC decorating business I run with

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I have a small LLC decorating business I run with a partner. We recently completed a renovation for a client in Washington, DC. We worked with a contractor who we have worked with previously on other projects before we had our own business. Our contract with our client states that we charge a coordination fee for the renovation at the rate of 10% of the renovation costs. The contractor, my partner and I decided that our coordination fee would be built into the contractor's invoices for the customer's convenience, and the contractor would pay us our share of each bill upon collection from the customer. We have worked the same way previously with this contractor (when we both worked for another designer, before we had our own business).
My partner and I do not have a direct contract with the contractor. We have a contract with the customer stating our 10% coordination fee. The contractor also has a direct contract with the customer, explicitly stating that his fees to the customer include the 10% coordination fee for my company.
All went well for the first 3 installment payments. The contractor received payment and sent us checks for our portion. For the 4th payment, the contractor and the customer got into a dispute. As a separate issue which is now resolved, the contractor was charging an exhorbitant fee, many times higher than his estimate for the 4th payment. The contractor & customer were in dispute for many weeks, and it looked like they might go to arbitration over it. In the end, the contractor accepted a reduced amount for the 4th installment payment, discounting his bill by about 35%.
The trouble is, he is now withholding the coordination fee for my company. He seems to have no intention of paying us any portion of the collected amount. We believe he owes us the same percentage of the collected amount that he would have owed us on the full amount. Could you please advise on this issue?
Thank you in advance.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 years ago.

Welcome to Just Answer! My name isXXXXX very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from this information.


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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Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4612
Experience: 13+ years of experience
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