Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
That is very odd. He may have thought your Mom would be easier to take advantage of. You both should go and also file a counterclaim against him for fraud and breach of contract. I'm not sure if the city will fine your for not getting a permit, but it is best to be proactive if you can.
You had an oral contract by virtue of your agreement to pay him for his services. If it it is in small claims court, they usually will not reschedule, but you can ask for a continuance.
The small claims court will not really be concerned with the permit issue. That is the city government that you live in. Like I said, you may want to talk to them and let them know you are suing your contractor because you were under the impression he had gotten the permit. You can chance that they will not find out.
I'm not aware of any restriction on unlicensed contractors' rights to sue. He believed you guys had a contract, he did not finish the contract so you have a claim against him.