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.
Here, this would be for breach of contract
, arguably. Breach of contract may be minor, or material.
A minor breach is substandard performance but one that does not cancel the contract.
A material breach goes to the "heart" of the matter wherein the performance is so bad, or nonexistent, that it validates the other party walking away from the contract.
Is it a minor or material breach? The Court would decide based on the following subjective factors:
1. The extent to which the injured party will be deprived of an expected benefit
2. The extent to which the party can be adequately compensated.
3. The extent to which the breaching party will suffer forfeiture.
4. The likelihood that the breaching party will cure their failure
5. The good faith of the breaching party.
Someone in your situation may wish to sue them for material breach of contract in small claims
court. See here
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