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Contractor abandoned project-- should I complete it myself?

Discussion in 'Independent Contractors & Consultants' started by Mike from PA, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Mike from PA

    Mike from PA Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have an independent contractor who owed me $3,200 from a previous project in my home (money I had paid in advance but he wanted out of the remaining contract).

    After 2 months of waiting, he wasn't paying me, so I offered a new arrangement where he would pay me $1,000 right away and $1,000 in 2 months-- and in the meantime he would complete a large painting job in our basement for which I would "credit" him the remaining $1,200.

    He paid me the first $1,000, but he has abandoned the painting project roughly 3/4 of the way through. He told me he is done working with me because I told him that he had to work every weekday, not just when he wanted. This was spelled out in the contract he signed.

    So now I have an unfinished project + $1,000 he owes me. He says he'll give me $1,000 + maybe a little more at some point. Obviously, I'm skeptical on both fronts because of many broken promises from him.

    Furthermore, it will probably cost me a lot more to have someone finish his project because there are a number of places that need to be re-touched with paint plus so much paint that would need to be cleaned up off the tile floor from his messy work. In other words, even if he might have only had 1/4 of the job left, it will cost me a good bit more because of the difficulty of picking up a messy project.

    My plan is to take him to small claims court for the amount he owes me ($1,000) plus the amount it would cost to hire someone to finish the work (maybe in the ballpark of ($600-800).

    Here are my 2 legal questions:

    1) What would be the implications of me finishing the job myself? Would I still be entitled to the "cost" of the work he had left undone. I could document this through photos and even have another contractor come in and give me a quote for the work that is remaining?

    2) If I'm going to submit a civil complaint how much should it be for? Technically he has until November 30th to give me the last $1,000. So should my complaint be for the $1,200 for the paint job or perhaps the amount that another contractor quotes me to finish the job? Or should it be for both?

    Thanks for any input!
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    If you do the work yourself, then you don't have the cost of a contractor.
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Anyone (that includes YOU) can sue anyone (that includes the scammer contractor) in small claims court.

    No one has the ability to predict which party prevails in any trial.

    If you do prevail, you won't get a check for the amount you were awarded in the judgment.

    Once you have the judgment it is your job to track down any UNPROTECTED assets and request the sheriff to attach such assets so that your judgment can be satisfied.

    In small claims cases, that's about 5-10% of all such judgments nationwide.

    If I were standing in your shoes, I'd cut all ties to the deadbeat and move on with my life.

    Chances are no matter what you do, you'll never get a dime from this bum.

    If you can get on a TV "judge" show (Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, People's Court, etc...) you'll get paid in full, if you prevail.

    Win or lose, you'll receive paid transportation to the filming site, your hotel, airport transportation, airport parking, meals paid in full, too. Your witnesses (or travel companion) get that, too. You'll also get a clothing allowance to look "real purty" on TV.

    The scammer will certainly want the free trip.

    So, you can look into the TV angle, if accepted, you'll get loot, not the empty boot!

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