Okay, we will need to discuss several things in order to answer all your questions and bring them "together."
To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract
," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one
cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.
When you state "Notice of Action," I think you mean this.
Here, one's causes of actions may be: breach of contract and/or unjust enrichment / quasi-contract.
BREACH OF CONTRACT: elements of a breach of contract claim are that: (1) a contract existed, (2) the contract was breached, and (3) damages flowed from that breach. A.R. Holland, Inc. v. Wendco Corp., 884 So. 2d 1006, 1008 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004)
However, they may attempt to claim that there WAS not contract. If so, then the response would be that there was a verbal contract and the emails and the work itself prove it. A verbal contract is simply harder to prove than a written contract which has the agreement in writing. But it is possible.
Then they can try to claim that the contract is not binding because it does not fit statute of frauds
. Under statute of frauds doctrine (FS 725.01) any contract requiring a year or more to perform needs to be in writing. If so, then one can reply that the contract would require less than a year (this is why I inquired earlier).
But in case one cannot prove a contract per se, there are still two more causes of action that may be brought in the same pleading in addition and in the alternative
UNJUST ENRICHMENT: The essential elements of a claim for unjust enrichment are: (1) a benefit conferred upon a defendant by the plaintiff, (2) the defendant's appreciation of the benefit, and (3) the defendant's acceptance and retention of the benefit under circumstances that make it inequitable for him to retain it without paying the value thereof. See Swindell v. Crowson, 712 So.2d 1162, 1163 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998).
QUASI-CONTRACT: The elements of a cause of action for a quasi contract are that: (1) the plaintiff has conferred a benefit on the defendant; (2) the defendant has knowledge of the benefit; (3) the defendant has accepted or retained the benefit conferred[;] and (4) the circumstances are such that it would be inequitable for the defendant to retain the benefit without paying fair value for it. American Safety Insurance Service v. Griggs, 959 So. 2d 322 - Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2007
(internal citations omitted).
Quasi-contract is closely related to unjust enrichment.
As for a lien - this is not possible. Only a mechanic or a contractor who works with materials can file a lien. In this case, this matter first needs to go to Court, and if you get a judgment, a lien may be filed as part of an effort to get them to pay if they do not.
An attorney is recommended. May I recommend the FL Bar referral program - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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