Real Estate

My contractor is suing me in Small claims court.

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 18th, 2021 8:19 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
859 posts
241 upvotes
North York

My contractor is suing me in Small claims court.

Basically I refused to pay more money and he feels entitled to more $$$ that he feels he should have revived. 60% of work was done but 80% of payment was made by me. I should be suing him but this guy has balls and decided to sue me for $9000

No it’s get tricky because after our disagreement he damaged the property (documented everything) So now I want to counter sue him for not only incomplete work but also damage to property. Which puts me out of pocket even more to complete the job myself.

My guess is that this goes to a settlement conference and during mediation someone decides the outcome.

Of course there was no written contract with deadlines etc.. So it’s a he said she scenario

Before I get crucified for not having a contract know that 80% of jobs don’t have one.

What are the chances I have in small claims court? Has anyone gone through this before?

Any suggestions or tips for this process would help Person With Folded Hands
87 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 14, 2006
8868 posts
1521 upvotes
Well, without knowing his side of the story, I’d say you have a 50/50 chance of winning. Honestly, there are likely a lot of info you’re not able to disclose and that’s going to probably make or break your case. I don’t think you’ll get much in this forum.

Good luck.
TEAM CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2009
11024 posts
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if he doesnt have documentation how can he prove it?

Do you have texts with agreement?
Member
User avatar
Jul 12, 2015
344 posts
138 upvotes
I am guessing "no contract" might also mean "paid under the table"? If that's the case, it's not going to look so good for either of you in small claims. Might be better off both walking away and calling it a day.
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
859 posts
241 upvotes
North York
Sanyo wrote: if he doesnt have documentation how can he prove it?

Do you have texts with agreement?
There was initial contract of $16,000 on paper then we added work so it increased to $20,000. Contractor then keep sending bogus invoices which we never agreed too and ballooned cost to $28,000 And that’s when we stopped paying. Plus project was already behind by a month.
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
859 posts
241 upvotes
North York
Sanyo wrote: if he doesnt have documentation how can he prove it?

Do you have texts with agreement?
There was initial contract of $16,000 on paper then we added work so it increased to $20,000. Contractor then keep sending bogus invoices which we never agreed too and ballooned cost to $28,000 And that’s when we stopped paying. Plus project was already behind by a month.
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Feb 8, 2014
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Consider speaking with a lawyer or paralegal. Some have a free consult, and even though you don't need lawyers at small claims court being properly prepared with a legal opinion of your options and what evidence you need (especially of the intentional damage) helps your case immensely.
You might need more than a consult which can cost money, its worth paying in order to save yourself from a judgment against you for not being prepared enough.
All that said make sure you like your lawyer, if you have doubts find another lawyer.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
1431 posts
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Toronto
afshaikh wrote: Basically I refused to pay more money and he feels entitled to more $$$ that he feels he should have revived. 60% of work was done but 80% of payment was made by me. I should be suing him but this guy has balls and decided to sue me for $9000

No it’s get tricky because after our disagreement he damaged the property (documented everything) So now I want to counter sue him for not only incomplete work but also damage to property. Which puts me out of pocket even more to complete the job myself.

My guess is that this goes to a settlement conference and during mediation someone decides the outcome.

Of course there was no written contract with deadlines etc.. So it’s a he said she scenario

Before I get crucified for not having a contract know that 80% of jobs don’t have one.

What are the chances I have in small claims court? Has anyone gone through this before?

Any suggestions or tips for this process would help Person With Folded Hands
Been through this, have a current case going right now an HVAC contractor on a commercial build (I took him to court).

To keep it short, at the settlement conference you will sit across the table (maybe virtual) from contractor with a mediator and the mediator will ask you to settle, no joke he will just say ok of the 9k, will you pay him 5k to settle this? If you disagree they will ask you the same question 8 more times over the course of 45 minutes, to the point where it gets pretty exhausting and you might say yes just to have them both stfu and get this over with. If you don't, it goes to 'trial'. My case is on hold was supposed to be in trial in March 2020, got called off during covid and it still hasn't been rescheduled. They think they will start rescheduling again in May of this year.

Good luck.
Realtor, Investor, CPA
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
859 posts
241 upvotes
North York
This is exactly what I thought may happen since neither of us have written proof. Even though I have videos/photos of property damage and negligence I still suspect since the contractor took me to court first that the judgement may be favorable. With the determination and convection he’s gong after I suspect he may not settle for a any $ amount less than what he thinks he’s owed. I am confident I can prove that work was not completed and there was damage so I am willing to go to court to fight but at same time I value my time and would be willing to settle to finish it off.

How long was it before you served to to time you had settlement meeting? And did you fight yourself?


quote=RichmondCA post_id=34112576 time=1614165509 user_id=1383075]
Been through this, have a current case going right now an HVAC contractor on a commercial build (I took him to court).

To keep it short, at the settlement conference you will sit across the table (maybe virtual) from contractor with a mediator and the mediator will ask you to settle, no joke he will just say ok of the 9k, will you pay him 5k to settle this? If you disagree they will ask you the same question 8 more times over the course of 45 minutes, to the point where it gets pretty exhausting and you might say yes just to have them both stfu and get this over with. If you don't, it goes to 'trial'. My case is on hold was supposed to be in trial in March 2020, got called off during covid and it still hasn't been rescheduled. They think they will start rescheduling again in May of this year.

Good luck.
[/quote]
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Feb 8, 2014
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The court system does not go by who filed first, it goes by law and what evidence is available.
But you may have to counter sue since his lawsuit is to make him "whole" while yours would be to compensate you.

If i understand correctly if he loses his suit then that does not make you whole, it just denies him damages. If you want damages you have to file suit for them.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
1431 posts
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Toronto
afshaikh wrote: This is exactly what I thought may happen since neither of us have written proof. Even though I have videos/photos of property damage and negligence I still suspect since the contractor took me to court first that the judgement may be favorable. With the determination and convection he’s gong after I suspect he may not settle for a any $ amount less than what he thinks he’s owed. I am confident I can prove that work was not completed and there was damage so I am willing to go to court to fight but at same time I value my time and would be willing to settle to finish it off.

How long was it before you served to to time you had settlement meeting? And did you fight yourself?


quote=RichmondCA post_id=34112576 time=1614165509 user_id=1383075]
Been through this, have a current case going right now an HVAC contractor on a commercial build (I took him to court).

To keep it short, at the settlement conference you will sit across the table (maybe virtual) from contractor with a mediator and the mediator will ask you to settle, no joke he will just say ok of the 9k, will you pay him 5k to settle this? If you disagree they will ask you the same question 8 more times over the course of 45 minutes, to the point where it gets pretty exhausting and you might say yes just to have them both stfu and get this over with. If you don't, it goes to 'trial'. My case is on hold was supposed to be in trial in March 2020, got called off during covid and it still hasn't been rescheduled. They think they will start rescheduling again in May of this year.

Good luck.
[/quote]

I did it myself, from initial filing to settlement conference it took about 5-6 months IIRC. I had to make 3-4 visits to 47 Sheppard Ave east, plus the time to prep everything, probably 10 hours of my time and a few hundred in costs.

My only piece of advice is to be able to explain your case in a 1 pager, if you can't, you are screwed. No one will take the time to read pages of docs/emails/pics/etc. Keep it as simple as possible, remove any non factual and opinion based stuff, stick to facts and timelines, quantify every claim you make as everything needs to be substantiated or else it will be disregarded.
Realtor, Investor, CPA
Deal Guru
Feb 22, 2011
10188 posts
12637 upvotes
Toronto
In your defense you can also claim counter damages.

Don't hold your breath though I filed in June of last year and haven't even heard back yet.

If he damaged your property get some quotes to fix it and in your defense claim that amount.

You don't really need a formal contract for small claims court, any messages or anything is admissible.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2007
3326 posts
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Toronto
in the end its all about evidence the judge can look at , texts, invoices, emails etc....

they dont care about who said what .....

let us know how it works out .... the GTA is full of shady contractors now because business has been booming for 10 years....

its easy to fleece people that dont know what they are getting into , etc.
Last edited by joepipe on Feb 24th, 2021 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2007
8354 posts
4319 upvotes
My experience with small claims court is that things can be really unpredictable and you might not be happy with the outcome even if you are in the right.

My advice would be to do everything you can to settle with this guy outside of small claims. This doesn't mean giving in to him but coming up with a strategy that finds a path that you both can live with. If you can settle with him, you will be doing it on your terms. Once this thing gets in front of a judge, the judge can decide whatever they want and you will have to live with it. And it doesn't always have to be fair. Judges are not necessarily the kind of people we hold them to be. They can be unintelligent and uncaring about a situation and it is anyone's guess what kind of judge you get and what their judgment will be.
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Apr 5, 2013
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keenland
mazerbeaner wrote: In your defense you can also claim counter damages.

Don't hold your breath though I filed in June of last year and haven't even heard back yet.

If he damaged your property get some quotes to fix it and in your defense claim that amount.

You don't really need a formal contract for small claims court, any messages or anything is admissible.
someone correct me if I am wrong but I think quotes/estimates dont count..only actual receipts for work done, are to be reimbursed/sued for
Deal Guru
Feb 22, 2011
10188 posts
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Toronto
cardguy wrote: someone correct me if I am wrong but I think quotes/estimates dont count..only actual receipts for work done, are to be reimbursed/sued for
You are probably right but the process will take so long, in the meantime he can have the estimates to bring to the mediation. From there the judge can say the work needs to be done but there is going to be a long time before a trial finishes.
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
1431 posts
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Toronto
cardguy wrote: someone correct me if I am wrong but I think quotes/estimates dont count..only actual receipts for work done, are to be reimbursed/sued for
In depends in what context the estimates are used.

For example my claim is that this guy took my deposit, did less work than the value of the deposit and then would refuse to show up on time, delayed my project. I had to get 3 other estimates to quote what the value of the work was that he did, I am also going after him for the full small claims amount of 35k. The amount is actually higher, I just didn't want to deal with lawyers and other crap when I know I will be lucky if I get 10k back anyway.,
Realtor, Investor, CPA
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Mar 22, 2010
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afshaikh wrote: Basically I refused to pay more money and he feels entitled to more $$$ that he feels he should have revived. 60% of work was done but 80% of payment was made by me. I should be suing him but this guy has balls and decided to sue me for $9000

No it’s get tricky because after our disagreement he damaged the property (documented everything) So now I want to counter sue him for not only incomplete work but also damage to property. Which puts me out of pocket even more to complete the job myself.

My guess is that this goes to a settlement conference and during mediation someone decides the outcome.

Of course there was no written contract with deadlines etc.. So it’s a he said she scenario

Before I get crucified for not having a contract know that 80% of jobs don’t have one.

What are the chances I have in small claims court? Has anyone gone through this before?

Any suggestions or tips for this process would help Person With Folded Hands
It's not the small court that I would worry about. Make sure he doesn't put any lien on your property. He can register it and you won't be able to sell your property until the lien is cleared. I would settle as little noisy as possible but obviously you do come across situation where the other party just doesn't follow along. I would at least get a legal council on your side and send your contract a letter with registered mail that you will also be countering this with hard evidence. (any evidence that supports your claim)
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
859 posts
241 upvotes
North York
My dilemma is that I don’t have his address so I’m not sure how I would serve him the claim?

On his return he keeps putting ups store addresses as his return address which is actually fake.

1) how can find him?

2) Can I counterclaim as part of my defense? Or do I need to put a claim against him separately
Jr. Member
Dec 3, 2017
109 posts
77 upvotes
afshaikh wrote: Basically I refused to pay more money and he feels entitled to more $$$ that he feels he should have revived. 60% of work was done but 80% of payment was made by me. I should be suing him but this guy has balls and decided to sue me for $9000

No it’s get tricky because after our disagreement he damaged the property (documented everything) So now I want to counter sue him for not only incomplete work but also damage to property. Which puts me out of pocket even more to complete the job myself.

My guess is that this goes to a settlement conference and during mediation someone decides the outcome.

Of course there was no written contract with deadlines etc.. So it’s a he said she scenario

Before I get crucified for not having a contract know that 80% of jobs don’t have one.

What are the chances I have in small claims court? Has anyone gone through this before?

Any suggestions or tips for this process would help Person With Folded Hands
If he did 60% of the job and you've paid 80% what is he suing you for? Did he submit his claim to you? Unless he did extra work from the scope change and you didn't pay him for it. Scope changes and extras are 90% of the reasons for claims

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