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Former Landscape Boss Threatening to Sue

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by landahoy, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. landahoy

    landahoy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Without being too specific, I use to work for a longtime friend whom had a landscape business. For a little background info, the guy likes to ride a mower and often puts off other work (ie hedges, raking, weeding, mulch, etc) for many months before either finally doing it because his clients are angry or referring the work elsewhere. During that time I worked for him, I asked if I could do any small jobs on the side, on my own time...because a few of his clients had asked me personally if I could. He agreed that was fine. And I made arrangements with two clients to do odd jobs on the side, on Saturdays or whenever I had time. Months later, I decided that I wanted to start my own business. I made this clear to my boss, and he encouraged me with tips and soforth. Said he would give me all sorts of side jobs he didn't want to do. But it was already clear that I was doing side work for two of his clients already. Now, months have past (about two more months). A client of his (and let me make a point to mention that he doesn't have a single contract with anyone) asked if I could find someone to cut down a tree leaning dangerously over her house (since hurricane over a year ago). She said she'd asked my former boss to do it many months ago, but he would not respond. About two months ago, my former boss and I had an argument, and he has kept a grudge, left threatening messages on my answering machine, and now his parents have called and stated that they may take legal action against me. Any way, I referred the tree work to a friend of mine. Let me also note that this friend is also a friend of said landscape owner. Former boss called a few times now, threatening to sue me for stepping on his toes and referrring his customer's work to someone else. I did not get a referral fee for the tree. I consider myself a friend of this client, and merely did her a favor as she personally requested of me. The client is a sweet old lady and I didn't want to see anyone take advantage or not do the work she desparately needed done. Concerning any lawsuit, what are my options. His clients understand that I just do side work and don't mow. They pay me separately, and are aware that I don't work for my former boss any longer. I also don't have contracts with them. Former boss has come by my house, only days ago, and we discussed my continuing to do side work for just one of his customers. He said it was alright, because we'd agreed on it months ago. We shook on it again. I believe he only has a liscense to mow. And I have only a liscense to trim hedges which includes lite labor-type work.
    <b>What does the law say about this? How should I respond to his lawsuit threats?</b>
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Ignore him and do your own thing.
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Another example on why you need to use contracts
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    glad your feeling better....:)
  5. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    Even if he did end up taking you to court, I don't think he would get much if anything. He really doesn't have a case IMO.
  6. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Countersue for harasssment.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Thanks Dave, its nice to be able to sit up for awhile dancing
    Now back to the thread, don't want to hijack it
  8. Poppy

    Poppy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Unless you signed an employment contract with him with a non compete clause, I don't think he has rights to any actions against you.
  9. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Some states aren't even recognizing no compete clauses anymore.
  10. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,793

    bingo and you are no longer working for him. next time he calls tell him you are going to solicit all his clients until you have them all

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