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Old 07-31-2007, 09:11 AM   #1
PHILLYDEB
 
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


I had a bathroom gutted and redone and I have a signed contract. The contractor put 2 tubs in and both leaked, they were whirlpool tubs from Standard. In the end, the tub still leaked, tiles fell off the tub area, everything is a mess and the bathroom actually looks worse than when we started. I have a lawyer, (VERY EXPENSIVE), who sent letters to the man who originally showed up and we signed a contract with and to the subcontractor. The original man told the lawyer he is no longer in business and the subcontractor never answered the letters. Next step is arbitration and me putting up lots more money. I am stressed to the max over this decision. I am in the process of having the tub replaced and 2 walls retiled so we can use the bathroom. I have to pay for that. If I go to arbitration I will have to pay for that, and there is no guarantee I will recover any monies. I am thinking he will not show, he just won't pay if the arbitrators award me money, etc, etc. I am so negative because I have no experience with the courts, shody contractors, or any of this. I hear horror stories from neighbors and wonder if I should just cut my losses now. Any input into this decision would be helpful. The lawyer said he does have a business with a business name so that is hopeful.

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Old 07-31-2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


Going through lawyer is expensive... couldn't you do the sueing yourself? is your state has any sort of "small claim court" which you can do it yourself? I did small claim before and it is really simple and only cost you very minium like $50 bucks and an hour of your time...etc.... it sue things somthing like 5000 bucks...etc...(may raise the limit by now)...

anyway... I think going through lawyer may not be worth as you may not be able to recovered the money...

at least document/picture everything ...

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Old 07-31-2007, 10:18 AM   #3
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


How much money are we talking about here?
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:26 PM   #4
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


This reminds me of something that happened to my father. Government said he owed them $4000. Dad said no he did not. Lawyer said He did not but pay it. Dad said why. Lawyer said give them $4000 or give me $6000. Dad gave the lawyer $6000 (dad is a, well he is my dad).
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:08 PM   #5
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


In my view, most of the time, the reason to go lawyer is for the principal of the issue, not monetary...
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:52 PM   #6
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


Honestly, it doesn't sound like you have anyone to collect any money from, no matter what the ruling is. This sounds like a case of the proverbial "throwing good money after bad" , When the lawyer gets finished you will owe him a bunch of money (Immediately from your pocket), and even if you "win" ,it doesn't sound like there are any parties you will ever collect from. I would use that lawyer money to complete the project, and unfortunatley chalk it up to a life experience. Small claims court is an option, as someone sugested, because you don't need a lawyer, but I believe the limits are so low that it isn't even worth wasting a couple days from your work to go there.

Two leaking whirlpools sounds like poor installation or improper job site handling, like moving the tubs using the piping for handles, more than a factory defect, but tile falling off a brand new job (or an old job for that matter) is just poor workmanship.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:13 PM   #7
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


You have 2 tubs in one bathroom?!
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:15 PM   #8
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


The good thing about a court judgment is that your ability to enforce it lasts a LONG time.

Just because he may not have the money now, doesn't mean he won't have it 5 years from now. Also a court judgments gives you the power to find his assets and seize them. You can force him to answer questions about his assets under oath. If he lies or doesn't answer, he can be put in jail.

You can force him to unwind transactions under fraudulent transfer of assets statutes. If he just up and decides to give his parents $10,000 knowing you have a $10,000 judgment against him, you can have the court order the transaction be reversed and the money given to you.

You can place a lien on his home, and when he sells you will get paid.

So depending on how hard you really want to go after this guy, you can get your money back if he has or you think he will get assets in the future.

Your only risk would be him filing a bankruptcy and even then he'd have to qualify for a 7 to wipe his debts completely.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:32 AM   #9
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


I will still do the small claim court thing, why:

- just for the sake of scaring him a bit... a sense of fight back... rather than let him laugh for the rest of the life...

- it cost you really minimum, may be able to do it in lunch hour...
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:13 PM   #10
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


there's much more risk than him just filing bankruptcy. Assuming he was incorporated (most are) then he is personally protected by the corporation. If you sue him and win, he can just opt to close the company and you will have to collect against a company that has no money. The only way to get him personally responsible is to pierce the corporate veil, which is difficult and somtimes impossible.

you have to negotiate with the contractor to try and get somthing, or cut your losses. I assume you don't want him to pay you with work, so it seems unlikley that you will get anything. Your contract should have held the final payment until after the work was done and inspected. Was a permit pulled?

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Old 08-01-2007, 09:14 PM   #11
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Showbiz View Post
The good thing about a court judgment is that your ability to enforce it lasts a LONG time.

Just because he may not have the money now, doesn't mean he won't have it 5 years from now. Also a court judgments gives you the power to find his assets and seize them. You can force him to answer questions about his assets under oath. If he lies or doesn't answer, he can be put in jail.

You can force him to unwind transactions under fraudulent transfer of assets statutes. If he just up and decides to give his parents $10,000 knowing you have a $10,000 judgment against him, you can have the court order the transaction be reversed and the money given to you.

You can place a lien on his home, and when he sells you will get paid.

So depending on how hard you really want to go after this guy, you can get your money back if he has or you think he will get assets in the future.

Your only risk would be him filing a bankruptcy and even then he'd have to qualify for a 7 to wipe his debts completely.
All this is technically correct, and sounds great in theory...but we are talking in the actual world here, not law class theory. Ask the Goldman family how much they have collected from O.J. Simpson. The only person who will gain in this situation is the lawyer. Kenny Rogers summed it up perfectly in his song about the gambler, "You got to know when to hold em, and you got to know when to fold em". Like I said before, take the money you would waste on the lawyer and put it to better use getting your house finished correctly, and get on with your life. It is most unfortunate that you ran into a scum bag contractor, but the scum is there in every trade and profession.
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:28 AM   #12
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


I, uh hum, paid 15,400. I paid so much up front, mid way and when the job was done. After the work was done the whirlpool tub started to leak. The contractor came back and replaced the tub with a new one. It leaked also. Come to find out today, the work is so shody in this remodel that it is unbelievable. I have a contractor replacing the tub ( I had to go with a plain low tub) and redoing 2 walls and the wall behind the plumbing. When he removed the walls he found they used flex hoses in the wall to all plumbing including the washer in the room. Several connections were already leaking, so now I don't know if the previous tub is okay (it sits in my driveway) we will check it later with Standards repair guy. The amount we spent is in high claims court. The lawyer has gotten $2,000 to begin and expects to use another $5,000 to go to arbitration. I am thinking I will not go beyond arbitration. I hear what everyone is saying about I could get an award but collecting it is another thing. There are 2 businesses involved. Both are being sued, the corporation for the remodeler himself is being sued and he as a person. The first business represented himself as Landmark Builders. He insists he is no longer in business yet he just ran an ad in the paper. My attorney's sec called pretending to be a homeowner and asked for an address so she could check him out before going with him. He didn't want to give her an address but then gave her the same address that all his mail has come back no such person there. So these guys are real crooks. And hey, it probably wouldn't hurt to call the paper they advertised their fraudulent business in. I will be doing a separate post about that business. Look for it next. deb
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:39 AM   #13
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


That is too bad... I hope at least your tubs and other materials can be reused. Sounds like your money is a goner, may as well thinking about it being stolen and not recoverable and get on with life. If it were me, believe or not, since I don't want to spend another $7000 dollars, I would still take him to small claim court, just want to annoy him rather than getting back any money as I know I couldn't anyway, but then you seems don't have his address, if this is the case, you can't do nothing... you need a valid address of a person...
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:47 AM   #14
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


The tub may be worth something but I have no where else in my home to put it. My new contractor is a neigbor and his work is sooooo much different. I just miss the beautiful whirlpool tub already. I guess I should cut my losses. But I am going back to the better business bureau. Also I will contact some action lines and the paper they are advertising in. Thanks for your input. Some people do okay in sueing, we don't even know if he has insurance. This was our first contracting job. Boy were we dumb, still pretty dumb. Will try to do our own work as we used to, and our new contractor upstairs working now, well I can tell you, he is really appreciated, I hope he always has time for our jobs!! Any suggestions as to how to make him feel appreciated?
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:22 PM   #15
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Court Or Cut My Losses???


Did you get permits for the work being done?

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