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Statement of claim from contractor

MinnesotaLawsuitPayment Disputes

We built a new home and moved in Oct 30, 2018. On May 3, 2019, we receive a phone call from our roofing/siding subcontractor stating we will be a named defendant if we don’t pay a final invoice if approx $5000. This is on top of the agreed upon $30+k that we paid. They claimed that additional material and labor were ‘needed’ due to a change in scope of our project from the original contract. There was never a change to our project. In fact, in order for us to move in on time, we had to bring in others to complete work that wasn’t getting done. We would go days and weeks without hearing from them while they were supposed to be working on the project. In addition, our contractor used this roofer/slider on another project and they sent virtually the same invoice after the fact for ‘additional’ material and labor needed to complete the project. They were also threatened with a lawsuit if no payment was made. This sub came to us as a referral. Because it was a referral, they admitted that they did the project for cost and might have even lost $$ on it. We are pretty sure this extra invoice was their way of recovering some of the lost revenue/profit. What is our best course of action to counter or defend what we deem as a bait and switch situation? Thank you!

1 reply

Aug 2, 2019
I'm really sorry to hear about that - it certainly sounds like a frustrating situation, especially considering the job has been closed out for so long.

When facing allegations of nonpayment, the best tool might be having all of the paperwork to prove the subcontractor's claim is false. Any and all pertinent contracts, invoices, lien waivers, photographs of the work, emails, text messages - anything that will show their claim is false could be helpful. Further, consulting with the contractor and getting copies of their relevant documentation would be important, too. Ultimately, if there's a mountain of documentation showing that the sub's additional claims for payment are bogus, it will be a lot easier to try and convince them to stand down and not pursue a claim.

Further, it may help to send a preliminary demand letter requesting that a subcontractor cease making legal threats. By again showing all of the documentation proving a subcontractor has no payment claim, in conjunction with a demand letter, a subcontractor will know that you won't just roll over and pay whatever claims they make.

In any event, when litigation has been threatened, it could be helpful to consult with a local construction attorney in order to present any relevant documentation, communications, or other information. When they take a deeper look, they'll be able to set out potential options for moving forward and advise on how best to proceed.
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