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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102350
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Good Morning. brief overview. We had a signed contract with an unlicensed contractor (he

Customer Question

Good Morning. brief overview. We had a signed contract with an unlicensed contractor (he told us he was licensed), to replace small flat roof and replace stairs. He quoted us 10K, which we gave him a 1/3 down payment in November of last yr. He didn't start job until late April of this year. Nothing he did was correct. The inspector came by and told us it would be better to tear everything down and start over. Several other contractors have given us statements as to the shoddy work done. We took pictures as well. We paid him another 1/3 during the project. We are not paying him the last 1/3 and did have it all taken down and need to start over. we would like to go after him for some of the money we have already spent. Any advise. We are in Massachusetts
thank you. Richard Winant
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for requesting me. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not to participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.
How much money will it cost ($3k to $___?) to fix/do what he promised and should have done in the first place?
This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We had to spend $2300 on material and another $2000 to have the roof done correctly. It will cost at least $4,000 on material for the stairs + labor.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
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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