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I am having a dispute with my contractor about basement

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waterproofing. I live in...
I am having a dispute with my contractor about basement waterproofing. I live in Massachusetts. We hired a contractor to build us an addition that included a finished basement. The contract called for interior drainage, foundation waterproofing and an exterior foundation drain.The contractor failed to install the exterior foundation drain and did not tell us. The interior drain was installed but of inferior quality.We experienced a flood that ruined carpets, flooring and walls. We had to have a basement waterproofing company come out and install an interior foundation drain. It cost $14,000 in damage and extra work.We are seeking restitution of the $14,000 by the contractor and he simply states that he did not guarantee a dry basement. I plan on taking him to arbitration. Is the fact that he did not complete the contract as agreed to enough to win in arbitration?
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
11/10/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,475
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
please review and let me know your thoughts.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Great, thanks bear with me a moment...

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Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Thank you very much for your patience. The answer to your question is yes. I also want to provide you some basis in law that you can use in your arbitration case. This appears to be a classic breach of contract. A breach of contract just simply means that one party was obligated to perform and they have either have not performed or have said that they will not perform. Typically, the aggrieved party is entitled to be returned to the same position they were in before the breach, including the amount of money it costs to fix their mistakes.

This also to me sounds like a classic case of negligence. Negligence simply means that there was a duty that the other party owed and they breached that duty in some way. What is most important is that it is proven that the defendant breached their duty of care because that is what mostly determines whether there is a cause of action. Basically, the question is, “Did the defendant’s actions fall below the standard of care for a reasonable person in a similar situation?” If the answer to that question is yes, then there is negligence and you are entitled to damages.

Therefore, you have two causes of action at least that you can use to support your arbitration claim.

What other questions did you have for me?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Is it a problem that I did not give him an opportunity to come out and correct the mistake?
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Not necessarily. Even if a party doesn't know that they've breached the contract, it's still a breach.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
What arguments would you expect the contractor to make that I should be ready for?
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

They'll either attack you on the amount of damages you're claiming, whether the breach is "material" enough to warrant damages, the statute of limitations, and probably whether you did anything to cause the harm. It's hard to know exactly what they'll defend on, but those are most likely.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Did you have any other questions for me:-)

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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