Getting sued

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by NewWave, May 24, 2007.

  1. NewWave

    NewWave LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    We have been in business for eight years now. everything has been great. We do great work. We recently graded this guys property. The guy had a pool installed in his back yard and a pole barn put in. Needless to say the concrete trucks and other trucks tore a path through his yard getting back and forth. The guy has a big peice of property. We had him sign a contract stating that we would grade his property, add fill dirt, seed and straw. I have my guy out there with another guy for two days grading his property and adding in the 4 tri axles of dirt where it needs to be. Needless to say the property looks great. The ruts are gone. My guy exceeded the contract expectations. We even added a tri axle of pulvarized top soil no charge. The company owed us one for dumping a load of sand on the property. They did come and remove the sand. We get our final payment. The guy is happy as can be. Sit down and bullshit for a while. Take off. Three days later we get a call. The guy is pissed. Someone left on a water hose at his property and it busted and ran all night into the morning. This caused an area of newly graded dirt to wash away. It also rained and some of the seed was washed away accoring to him.

    The guy basically wanted us to come fix someone elses mess up and do more work because of mother nature. We nicely told him that we could come take a look but we cant control other workers you have on the property nor mother nature and we will charge to fix. We look. Not our fault. The guy said he wanted grass now and we tell him that he paid for seed and if he wanted grass now we should have sodded his property. To end the story he blows up and we got a certified lettter today stating that we are being sued.

    What would you do? The job was done to contract specifications if not better. The work was great. Our dirt guy is one of the best in the area. That is the main reason we hired him. It is not our fault some jackass left a water hose on causing it to blow and wash out newly graded areas because it was left onn for 12 hours plus. Just in a pickle. I dont want to fix it for free due to it not being our fault. We bent over backwards to make this guy happy. I also dont want to mess with the lawsuit. We have a lawyer.
     
  2. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 2,592

    Have your lawyer send his lawyer a letter stating that he's the contact from here on out. Then explain EXACTLY what happened to your lawyer. With any kind of luck, he'll be able to talk to the other lawyer, and mellow the other guy out. If not, unless your lawyers a complete idiot, you'll thrash him in court, and hopefully be able to counter-sue for court costs.
     
  3. ThorVentures

    ThorVentures LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Who used the water hose?
     
  4. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    Wouldn't thise be something for your liability insurance company to pursue?

    How much is he suing for?

    Document, Take Pics, make notes today of each time you talked with him (as best as you can remember) make copies of all the dump tickets from the trucks and the receipt from the seed/straw purchases as well. Make copies of your time sheets. and give them to your lawyer.

    Also keep notes of how much time(hours) you spend doing all of this and dealing with this lawsuit so you can counter sue for your wages, court costs and lawyer fees.

    Just because you are getting a letter from a lawyer does not meant you are getting sued. It could be like poker and the guy is trying to call your bluff. Once you get served with papers then you know you are being sued.

    If you have lawyer already. do not speak to the client or the clients lawyer. Let your lawyer do all your talking.

    If the lawyer or the client continue to call you and harass you even after you have provided them the name and number of your lawyer, make note as it becomes harassment.

    Good luck....
     
  5. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 2,592


    Oh, minor detail there. Anybody can send a certified letter, but they have to send a deputy or somebody similar if they are serious about actually suing you.
     
  6. NewWave

    NewWave LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    Thanks guys. The hose was left on by a guy working on the pole barn. We were long gone by then. Hopefully he is just seeing if we will scare us and have us go do work for free. We are standing firm that our work was done correctly and up to contract and that the damage was caused by another company and rain. Our lawyer has been contacted already. If we do go to court we will counter sue. The letter was certified and was not dropped off by a constable. We sha'll see.
     
  7. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157


    paper shave to be served in person y a court appointed officer or the suing party...

    I think hes trying to ruffle the feathers and get something for free like others have said.

    If he does take you to court, you could always sue the pole barn guy....threes-a-crowd ya know....
     
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Excellent advice here marc and right on the money.
     
  9. Bill S

    Bill S LawnSite Member
    Posts: 184

    This is also a good time for us all to sit back and evaluate our contracts. How detailed are they? What do they spell out? Have they been approved by our attorneys?

    An ironclad contract will always help in court. A poorly constructed, vague contract could hang you!

    Contractor beware!
     
  10. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812



    What he said. the guy is blowing smoke.
     

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