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Contractor hired other crew to finish job and didn't pay me my contract amount.

North DakotaConstruction ContractLawsuitMechanics LienPayment DisputesRecovery Options

I did for some work for a contractor out of Castle Rock,Co., but the job location was in Watford City, ND. He sent me home for the holidays and was supposed to have called me back when job was ready to start back, but never did. I found out that he bought in another crew to finish my work. My contracted work amount was just over $100,000 and he only paid me about 15k of that amount. Is there a way to sue to for breach of contract and collect lost wages / profit, which would have been @ $50,000.00 ?

1 reply

Aug 24, 2017
I'll break down your question into 2 potential parts and solutions.

Part 1: Filing A Lien
If you are unpaid for work (labor or material) that you furnished to the project, the best way to assert leverage and make sure you get paid is to file a lien. The rules that would govern the lien are determined where the job was located. Since this job was in North Dakota, the lien would need to be filed pursuant to ND rules.

In ND, these rules include sending a notice of intent to lien before filing a lien. If a lien fits the situation, it may be a good option to get you paid - you may want to talk with an attorney in ND to determine if you have lien rights on the project.

Part 2: Sue for breach of contract
Yes, you can always sue for breach of contract if you had a contract and it was breached. You can have a contract even if it's not in writing. Looks like there may be some ambiguity or dispute here about just how much the contract in question was for, and whether it was breached, but that's to be settled by the courts. If you're talking $50k, that's something you can't bring in small claims court and you'll likely need an attorney to help get the lawsuit filed and litigated. Where the suit needs to be filed and what law applies can be a complicated question when there are a bunch of different states involved. It depends on a number of factors, including, whether a written contract was executed naming a state whose law would apply. You would likely have an ability to file suit in ND or Colorado. It would be tougher to file in SD or GA.
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