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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I want to know if I can sue my wedding videographer. I was

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I want to know if I can sue my wedding videographer. I was married in Oct. 2009 and received my wedding video 6 months later. When I received my video it was horrible. Half of my wedding party was not included in the video, also the cake, live band etc... I contacted the videographer and he agreed that the video was poorly done and he agreed to redo my wedding video. In addition, I had payed an additional $400 to have a slideshow and never received it. I have tons of emails that prove that my videographer agreed that the video was horrible, he was going to redo the video, and that the slideshow was missing. In Oct. it will be three years and I still have not received my redone wedding video. Is it to late to sue? If not how much do I sue for? I paid the wedding videographer $4,000.
Yes, you can sue the wedding videographer.

You will sue for breach of contract. The question of how much you should sue for is a difficult one. I would sue for the entire $4,000 back. He agreed to provide you a video and has not done it yet. That means you are entitled to the entire $4,000, plus interest.

You could also attempt to sue him for specific performance. That is that the court orders him to do the work as he agreed to do it. Since this is your wedding, it is unique and has sentimental value that money really can't replace. This will enable you to get an order for specific performance, plus your court expenses.

So you have two options. You would sue for them both and then decide which one you want after you prove your case. You need to start by sending a certified letter demanding that he immediately fix the problem or return the money. Set a deadline (20 days) and if he doesn't respond, then you sue him.

I see you have given me a negative rating. Is there further information that you need. I'm happy to continue working with you until you feel you have received the service you paid for.

Please let me know. I want you to be satisfied.

If you need more detailed explanations of the law of breach of contract, or instructions on where to file and what forms to use, let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Will I need a lawyer? where do I file? How much will it cost? Also I can sue for the whole 4,000 even though I received the first horrible video? Also it is okay to sue even though it will be three years in Oct? Also what courthouse do I file? I have been dealing with the videographer for almost three years do I need to make a final attempt to work with him again before I sue?
Thanks for responding back. To answer your questions, I need the following information.

1. In what county do you reside?

2. In what county does the videographer reside?

As soon as I hear back from you I'll respond with all the information you need.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We both live in California, I live in L.A area he lives in the Riverside area, the wedding was in Temecula CA. The contract was signed in Torrance, CA. Also was proof do I have to bring to court? I only tons of emails between us about is issue. It that okay?
Ok, I'm going to address your questions one by one.

1. It happened 3 years ago, is that ok?

A: Yes, the statute of limitations in California on a claim for breach of contract is 4 years. Arguably, the breach is continuing as you have continued trying to work with him, so the clock probably hasn't started ticking yet on the statue of limitations. Regardless, the statute of limitations doesn't prevent you from suing him. It is an "affirmative defense" which means he would have to raise it in court and prove that it is applicable.

2. Where do I file?

A: You are going to file the lawsuit in the Riverside County small claims court. Generally, you are supposed to pick the court nearest the Vidoegrapher/Defendant's address. This link goes to the location of all the courts in Riverside:

3. Do I need a lawyer?

A: No, in fact no lawyers are allowed in small claims courts.

4. What do I file:

A: Follow this link to pull up the small claims court forms you need to file your lawsuit:

You will want to state that "I hired Defendant to film and produce a video of my wedding. The Defendant has failed to deliver the promised video. I paid the Defendant $4,000.00. I either want an order from the court that the Defendant has to perform and issue me the video (your option to put that in) or because cause the Defendant breached his contract and failed to perform, I want the return of the $4,000.00 I paid, plus pre-judgment interest"

5. Can I sue for the first $4,000.00 even though your received the first video.

A: Imagine you are at a restaurant and you order a steak well done. You get the steak, but it is raw, and you don't find out until you cut into it and take a bite. If the restaurant refused to cook the steak anymore for you, it wouldn't be fair to make you pay for the raw steak just because you took a bite. Your situation is the same. You paid for a finished and full video tape. He's given you something that you didn't ask for and isn't up to reasonable standards. Therefore, he is not entitled to keep the money.

6. Do I need to bring the emails?

A: Yes, because there was no written agreement you will need to show that the terms of your agreement were the video and slide show for $4,000.00. You will also need to show his acknowledgment that the video he gave you is not acceptable.

I thinking that covers everything. Let me know if you need further information.

Good Luck,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
One more last thing... Would I have a better chance of winning if I sue for less that 4,000 like 2,000? For example can the judge say "Well he did film and delivered some form of video so you cannot get 4,000? What I am trying to say is if I sue for 4,000 does the judge award 4,000 or nothing? When I send the letter to ask for payment in 20 days or we are going to court. What if he email me and tells me that he will fix and send me the video, should I still sue if he doesn't do it within 20 days?
Thank you for all your help!!!
No, the judge can decide to give you less even though you've decided for $4,000. The judge may very well do that. He may say "you are asking for $4,000, but I'm only going to give you $3,000 since the videograph did do some work."

If he the videographer doesn't give you a satisfactory product by the end of the deadline the you should sue him. If after you sue him and he then delivers an an acceptable video, tell him he has to reimburse you for the court costs of suing him.

BTW, the fees for small claims are located on this document starting on page 5:
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