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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11710
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Can I be sued for not completing a job I took off of craigslist?

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Can I be sued for not completing a job I took off of craigslist? No contract was signed, but email conversation where I stated I would do the work.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

Were all the essential elements of a contract in place? That is, the price agreed upon, the job, itself, a rough time of completion, etc...?

Customer:

no time of completion, an amount that was never confirmed, just assumed i would say say... we have just been going off the price listed in the ad he placed. the job to do was specifically mentioned...

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you start the job? What specifically was said by him, and what was said by you?

Customer:

i started the job, then went down the street and grabbed some construction workers to assist in helping lift a piece into place. they were no help, and made things worse by putting a wrong bolt in and then taking it out and dwstroyingit. so now i need to buy a whole new part and they left so i need to find some help again and im not sure if i even want to bother or try to pay someone for help

Customer:

not much specifically said, besides a very breif description of the job and when i should show up and that i said i would be there to do it

ScottyMacEsq :

I see. So basically the individual said that he needs someone to do a certain job, for a certain price, and you responded that you would do it, and you started it but did not complete it, correct?

Customer:

that is correct. if nothing is signed, is that a contract? communicatoon happebed over phone, email, and text.

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes, a contract can be verbal, and can be done over the course of many communications. Only certain types of contracts have to be in writing (such as contracts that cannot be completed within a year, contracts for the sale of goods over $500, etc...) but contracts for services, of any type, can be oral (unwritten) contracts.

ScottyMacEsq :

Furthermore, he can absolutely sue. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. A lawsuit is merely a legal complaint. It does not require that the person be right when the suit is filed. That is what the judges are for: making determinations of law. As to whether or not he can win, however, that depends on whether or not he can show that there was a contract in that it was breached.

ScottyMacEsq :

For there to be a contract there has to be an offer, acceptance of that offer, and consideration

Customer:

darn... so i need to try and find a way to finish this correct?this jusy happened today...

ScottyMacEsq :

in short that means that the essential elements of price and what the contract is about are agreed-upon and promises are exchanged...

ScottyMacEsq :

you do not necessarily have to finish a contract, because there is a concept known as economic breach. That is, where it would be cheaper for you to breach in pay damages that it would be for you to complete the contract, then that might be a situation where you will breach and it would still be better for you.

ScottyMacEsq :

But that really just depends upon the situation. It would be very difficult for you to argue that you do not have a contract in the first place.

ScottyMacEsq :

Another consideration is whether or not this individual will actually pursue you for breach of contract. If this person is not paid you yet, and are not seeking pay but rather just walk away, that even though he could, conceivably, sue you, he probably would not because the costs of bringing such a lawsuit would be more than he would recover.

Customer:

makes sense. the cost of repairs and me paying someone to help will not outweigh tje amount he is paying me...

ScottyMacEsq :

Furthermore, he can only sue you for his damages, not the entire price of the contract. That is, contract law only allows for recovery of damages, to get the nonbreaching party to the same or similar situation that he would have been in had there not been a breach.

Customer:

he has paid me half, $160. he owes another $140 upon completion

Customer:

so, technically, he is further along because the project is almost complete, however he has paid some money. the replacement bolt is only going to cost $1-$3 so is that all he could sue for?

ScottyMacEsq :

if you were to away from this job, assuming that you have already done some work, but just have not completed it, he could sue you, but he could also see that suing would just take a lot of time and effort, and not worth the amount that he would sue you for.

ScottyMacEsq :

No, he would sue for the completion costs.

ScottyMacEsq :

that is, if he had to pay another person $200, minus the 140 that he would not have had to pay you, he would still be out $60 because of the breach, and could sue for that amount.

ScottyMacEsq :

He could not sue for the hundred and 40, because that would be a double recovery. He would have had to paint you 140, and you not being there means that he did not pay you the 140, but to the extent he had to pay someone else more to finish the job, that excess could be recoverable.

Customer:

i see. makes sense...

ScottyMacEsq :

And he may or may not want to pursue that $60 (in that example above)... it would be a lot of hassle to do so. But he could, theoretically, if he wanted to.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

tha.k you for your help!

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11710
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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