How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34288
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
19958803
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We hired a contractor to build our shop. The contractor we

Customer Question

We hired a contractor to build our shop. The contractor we hired, hired another contractor to complete the job. The shop was not finished, the original contractor that we hired (and have a contract with) was fired and the company has supposedly closed down. We were instructed by the contractor (we have documentation of this) to pay the contractor he hired. Can we go after the contractor that we hired for breach of contract? Can we do anything if the business closed down?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

.

Can we go after the contractor that we hired for breach of contract?

.

Yes, the original contractor is still liable under the contract even if he hired a subcontractor to do the work. This is under the legal doctrine "respondeat superior" which basically means that the principle is liable for the actions of his employees. So if the 1st contractor hired a sub, then he is still liable.

.

Can we do anything if the business closed down?

.

That depends. If the business filed bankruptcy or was legally dissolved, then you are out of luck with regard to suing the business. But if the contractor signed any contract in his own personal name, not as an officer or agent of the business, then he can be held personally liable for any damages.

.

So you can check the Secretary of State's website for business filings if this is an LLC or Corp and see if they have been dissolved or not. And also check your contract to see how the contract was signed....either personally or as "Bob Smith, president of ABC Construction" to see if you can hold the person liable directly.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I just looked them up and it says "Voluntarily Dissolved" on September 21, 2016. Is this the same as legally dissolved?
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Yes, that means that they filed formal dissolution paperwork with the state to shut down the company so they no longer exist.

.

So at this point, you need to look at the contract to see how it was signed to determine whether you are stuck or could go after the contractor personally..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Sorry for all the questions. We 19k that we paid this company and I am hoping they they can't just take our money and run because they dissolved the business. There are really 2 businesses here, HCL Engineering & Surveying and HCL Design Builders LLC. They are both owned by the same the person. We though we were dealing with HCL Engineering but it turned out we were dealing with HCL Design Builders. The contractor in question "was" apparently an employee of both companies. The address, phone numbers, and even the webpage were all they same for both companies, which is why we though we were dealing with HCL Engineering. If they were portraying themselves as HCL Engineering can we go after them?
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

No worries, that is what I am here for.

.

If they were portraying themselves as HCL Engineering can we go after them?

.

Possibly, but you would have to prove that they were alter egos of each other and that they weren't separate legal entities. If you could prove that they commingled assets, like using the same bank accounts, locations, employees, etc. then you might be able to convince a judge that they were essentially the same company. But a lot of it is going to depend on how the contract was signed because there is nothing illegal about having multiple companies with similar names and each is a completely separate legal entity presumptively..

.

But you are well over any small claims limit so you would have to hire an attorney to represent you in a higher court and basically try to "pierce the corporate veil" and reach through to hold the owner personally liable.. These are complicated and expensive types of cases to pursue and the legal fees could be prohibitive.

.

I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Related Legal Questions