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How to Sue a Subcontractor for Breach of Contract

The majority of the work that you do with subcontractors goes well. There is an agreement between you and the subcontractor that you will work toward the best interests of the project together. However, there are projects with subcontractors that do not go well. When this happens, there are multiple ways to handle the problem, including litigation. You may not want to sue a subcontractor, but it may become your only choice for a resolution. In this article, one of our Portland construction dispute lawyers discusses how to sue a subcontractor for breach of contract.

Related: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursuing a Construction Lawsuit

Why You Should Sue

How to sue a contractor for breach of contract is a question that has become more common as construction activities have increased in the last few decades. Not being paid for completed work can put many companies at risk of closing. This is especially true for smaller subcontractors. It is also becoming much easier, thanks in large part to the Internet, to pursue construction litigation via the Internet. 

Suing a subcontractor can have an impact on your business. If word spreads that you filed the lawsuit, it could affect how other subcontractors view working with you. However, this should not be a major problem, especially if you do not have a history of suing subcontractors. In some ways, it can be beneficial as it shows that you are focused on complying with the terms of your contract. 

Check Your Contract

If you are going to take legal action, start with your contract to make sure that there is something that you can sue for. The legal issues that arise from various business agreements and labor agreements can be reviewed by looking over your business’ contract, which is essentially an agreement that defines the terms of your business relationship with your subcontractor. 

If you have hired an attorney to review your business contracts, then he or she will review the contracts and any other pertinent documents provided by your employer. The first step will be for your attorney to review the general fair housing laws in your state. Your attorney may decide that the provision in the contractual agreement regarding a no contact order should be added to your understanding of the law. If so, your attorney will file a motion with the court requesting that the judge enter a permanent stay on the contract so as to protect you from the negative potential of the contractor’s actions. This would be an appropriate standard of review in light of the potential for harm that may come as a result of the contractor’s conduct of business.

Related: 3 Common Types of Construction Lawsuits

Collect Documentation

Your case will need proper documentation to show wrongdoing. Collect the documents that you need to prove your case before moving forward with legal action. This can include communication between you and the contractor, the contract, and many other options. Coordinate with legal representation to help you identify and collect all of the information that you need. Some cases can require extensive amounts of documentation, making a lawsuit a long-term process. This is a problem for most construction companies, as the length of time a lawsuit takes can significantly increase the costs of that lawsuit. 

One thing that you can do to address the problem is to improve your documentation management throughout the project. When lawsuits are filed, both sides often have to scramble to find the documentation that they need. If you can improve your document management from the beginning of the project, you will not have to scramble to find what you are looking for. 

Discuss Your Case With a Construction Lawyer

Find and hire a lawyer to take on your case. Construction contracts are complex, and you will need legal representation to help you through the entire process. There are many instances when it may be necessary for you to discuss your case with a construction lawyer. If you have been injured as the result of an on the job injury, such as a broken bone, a badly sprained back, or even nerve damage that has caused pain in your hands and/or feet, you will want to discuss your case with a construction law firm as soon as possible. 

Related: Disputes and Lawsuits: When Does it Make Sense to File?

Send a Notice of Intent

Before you take the first legal steps, you have to notify the other party that you intend to sue them. This is done by sending a notice of intent, which outlines the reasons why you are filing the lawsuit. This is the first step and can be done with the help of your lawyer. The other party is obligated to respond. Failing to send a notice of intent can lead to legal problems later.

File Legal Action

Once the notice of intent is sent and you have not received a response or an unsatisfactory response from the other party, you can file for legal action. Based on your contract, you may be obligated to start with arbitration. Otherwise, you can file a lawsuit with the help of your lawyer. Taking legal action should be your last option since it can end your relationship with the contractor or sub-contractor. 

Before you sue a subcontractor, there are steps that you can take to address the problem, like partnering with a Portland contractor attorney. If you have questions about construction litigation, contact a Portland license defense attorney from Cotney Construction Law.

If you would like to speak with a Portland contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.