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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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Hello! Im a small business in FL (sole propr.). I was subcontracted

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Hello! I'm a small business in FL (sole propr.). I was subcontracted to do large (for my business) project by sole proprietor from NJ, whom I personally knew for years (or I thought I did). I was working on that project for a month. The job that I got was twice as much vs. what I quoted him based on information he originally gave me - and I made sure he was aware of it. Because he was an acquaintance, I let him pick up finished project from my shop before remaining balance due was settled. Then he handed me check that wasn't nearly enough, and ignored my further attempts to contact him. To best of my knowledge, my project is now on some commercial property in N.J. Is there anything I can do collect my money? Is he obligated to reveal whereabouts of project that I built? What legal action can I take to find out where my work is located/being used?

Since he went hiding, he didn't even provide me with promised copy of his Tax Certificate. I do have his personal and business information, though. Thank you.

Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am sorry to learn of the facts you've described. It would be helpful to know: how much are you still owed?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi! Thank you.

When I emailed this man, trying to resolve this, I was willing to take a loss, and would have come down to $3500 (20% reduction in my shop rate, at all materials at my bare cost), but he ignored it.

By my actual time/rate + materials it's $6800.

Thank you. Is he still located in New Jersey?

Does he still come to Florida to do business?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He lives and has business in GLOUCESTER county NJ, but also has another house here in Palm Coast. I would know when he arrives down here.

If you wanted to, you could sue him in small claims court for money damages. The max you can sue for in Florida small claims is $5,000. This process is explained here:

New Jersey has the same limit for small claims and you would not be repaid your travel costs.

What it comes down to is that you can sue him for breach of contract and seek a court judgment for the unpaid balance -- unless you sue in small claims. If you sue in small claims, you cap your losses to $5,000 but you don't have to pay lawyer fees because you'd be representing yourself.

There really is no mechanism for you to go to NJ and just take back your property from the third party who has it. You may want to consider suing him in small claims court for breach of contract.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Last question, please. I don't want to go to NJ to get my enclosure. Anything I can do legally to make him reveal whereabout of it? Can he keep it a secret from me? Tnx

Does he still have possession of it or did he transfer it to a third-party?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Not sure, but think he installed it on restaurant building, I don't know where.

Unfortunately, you no longer have any legal interest/rights in that property given the collective facts you've described.

Even if he discloses the location to you, there's nothing you can do about it. You cannot go to the restaurant and take it back.

Your dispute is between you and the contractor.

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I just thought I could cotact restaurant owner about contractor pocketing 50% of money they paid for enclosure, while subcontractor got underpaid.

You can certainly contact the restaurant owner and share that information with them. But that won't result in a solution for your situation.

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I know. :-(


Thank you!

You are most welcome. I wish you all the best as you endeavor to track down that deadbeat.

Please do not forget to click on excellent service feedback so that we are credited for assisting you.

~~ J.B.
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