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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 112765
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Received notification of a lien on Saturday. The claimant,

Customer Question

received notification of a lien on Saturday. The claimant, SBT Construction provided me an estimate back in May that was converted to a contract(enclosed) for a deck and pergola. The contractor told me he would complete the job in one week however, however the majority of the work was not completed until July 25th and the job is still not complete. I wrote the contractor a certified letter (attached) on 8/8/16 outlining the issues that remained. I have not heard from him since. I am waiting to hear back from a new contractor on the cost to make the repairs to the deck. The total contract was for $25,000 of which I paid $14024 directly to the material supplier (at the contractor’s request and deviation from the contract)
My plan, prior to having the lien filed was to subtract the amount paid to make the deck safe and correct as well as the $700 I paid to the lighting contractor to complete the work that the contractor’s foreman said they could not do from the final amount due, which according to the estimate/contract and invoices would be $10,275. The lien filed was for $13,482.95 which has never been discussed or invoiced and does not include attorney’s fees or interest.
My questions:
Do I have to pay him? I have been deceived both verbally and in writing by this contractor numerous times an even his foreman told me “He lies all the time to customers.” Much of the work performed is terrible and will have to be repaired.
Does it matter that he failed to pull a permit?
Is there any recourse beyond non-payment? I am not only angry and frustrated, but really want to stop him from doing this to other customers.
If we prevail in litigation, will your expenses be part of our judgment?
What is your estimate of the cost to litigate this case?
Any other suggestions or advise would be appreciated.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If he contracted to do a job that he failed to perform in a workman like manner, he was negligent, then he is in breach of contract and breach of warranty to perform. You need to send him written notice that as he failed to perform on the contract as agreed, his lien is invalid and if he files it (or refuses to remove it if he did file it already) you will sue him for placing the illegal lien and breach of contract.
Him not pulling permits as required is also negligence and a breach of contract.
You can report him to your state contractor licensing board if he is licensed.
You have recourse of suing him and you can recover the cost of repairing his negligent work and any directly related losses you can prove for him not completing the work. Legal fees depend on whether or not the contract has an attorney's fees clause. Absent a clause saying that the breaching party is liable for legal fees each party pays their own legal fees for breach of contract. It is possible though that you can add a claim for unfair and deceptive business practices based on his conduct and lies about the job and if you can prove that claim you can recover up to triple your actual damages plus attorney's fees.
We at this site are legally forbidden by state law from representing anyone from this site, you would need to get a local consumer protection law attorney at the same sites used by other attorneys, http://www.hg.org or http://www.lexmundi.com

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