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While it is generally unlikely that a lawsuit will be field for $500.00 in these types of circumstances, I will run through the major liabilities and defenses as they appear in your post.
I didn't get but 1 line in your response- please resend
Assuming that there is a suit, it would have to be grounded in either breach of contract or negligence. The issue would be your appearing in an (allegedly) intoxicated state, and playing songs or music styles not on the list. You had been contracted to play a set type of music (Country) and this fell outside of that. A DJ exercising a normal standard of care for a wedding may be expected to take steps to prevent the playing of such music. Assuming that they prove liability for both of these (the breach of contract and the negligence), they also have to prove damages. This is a very hard element as it is difficult to quantify what damage is caused by a single song being played which appears to have caused some upset to the bride.
Your defenses are based more on the environment than your personal condition (unlike being on the Plaintiff's side, the defendant is expected to perform as one without unknown injuries or illnesses). However, the allegation of "drunkenness" should be very difficult to prove, particularly if they have no proof and you have your substantial medical history combined with the heat to substantiate your story.
The wedding party is not entitled to a 100% refund on their deposit for your misplaying one song. So long as the heat did not create a situation where your condition caused such a disruption to the wedding that it was outside the bounds of "poor service" you cannot be expected to provide your services for free. (any damages they may get would be a reduction in your services from what you have posted, but if there is something significantly more to the story, or if they are threatening to sue for some other damages, that would change the analysis).
OK To better explain On my computer it's set up in many kinds of playlists. They liked country and I have many country songs. Due to my deminishing physical condition I just hit the country button to get music playing- not realizing the rough lyrics song. I was so exhausted and the wedding ceremony music volume was so low- I never heard the words and I was on the ground below the speaker. Also, I imagine that they will want to sue for additional monies and their legal expenses. This song did not fall outside of the country music boundaries- It was country. I had asked the bride for specific songs and she emailed me back 3 or 4 but said she'd run out of time and would leave them up to me. I want you to understand that I do not drink and she has no case there but I was about to die . My fear was that I was going to pass out while they were doing the vows and then they'd have to stop the wedding to attend to me. I couldn't let that happen. I play a wedding each week just inside an air conditioned building and there's never been a problem so I wasn't prepared for something that has never happened. I did play out the night and didn't pass out. I lost 7 lbs. sweating- (maybe I should keep that up). I actually shuffled around a lot of musical equipment for 3 1/2 hours in the Florida heat. It was brutal. Anyway the health is real and fully documented. If this does go to court , do they have a case with the information I've given you? What do I have to be ready for? And I guess I should seek out local legal council? Jim
Remember, anyone can sue somebody else for what they perceive as a claim, so just because they may have two possible causes of action does not mean they will win. Regarding the attorney's fees, unless you have a written contract that has what is called an "attorney's fees clause" in it where each side agrees that in the event of a lawsuit the winning side has their fees paid for by the losing side, you will not owe them their attorney's fees. I cannot give you specific legal advice here, but you don't need to speak to an attorney until after you actually are served with a lawsuit. Once that happens you will have a much better idea of whether they are going to try and get a whole bunch of money out of you that they are not entitled to. But $500.00 is well under the Florida small claims jurisdiction and you can handle a suit there without an attorney.
Thanks and I'm almost done. From what I've told you- Is it like ly that someone attorney would advise them to sue. I do not know if they will but I want to be ready. What do I have to fear here ( where am I weak) Jim
I can't tell you whether or not someone else would advise suing (if I look at this as a straight contract dispute over $500.00 and there are no other damages that can be added, the cost of filing the lawsuit, getting a process server, and going to court a couple times is going to be far more than you would ever recover - there may be something else they are claiming as legal damages (something they are claiming arose as economic damages out of your work).
Regarding strengths and weaknesses: you did not appear in your tuxedo and in a physical condition that was expected at the time of the event. (Normally it takes a very cold person to not excuse a physical illness, but this is the legal analysis of the case not the social one). You also played a song which you would not otherwise have played. In your defense, you did everything you could to mitigate the damage (played through the night), and you selected the "filler" songs off a soundtrack that was in the approved category.
They're claiming I didn't pronounce her name properly- Is that a crime. I mean I did a wedding that the groom was Jewish and the bride was Japanese- I didn't get one of those names right but no problem- Can these folks claim damages for saying Stinson instead of Stintson? It 's not like I called them Smith? I truly couldn't make the 100 yard walk back and forth to put it on. I was too dirty and sweatty to do so till I bathed off. There was nothing in the contract about how I was to dress and I hid way off behind a big tree.
Usually this type of thing does not rise to a breach of contract. (or even negligence). I can't give you a complete legal analysis of your case because I lack the specific facts and information to do so, but I don't see this as being a strong claim for them.
Thanks Buddy- I was hoping for a little different answers but you and I can't change the law. You helped a bunch. Jim
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