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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The story is: the residential client is really pissed off at the landscape contractor who did their back yard. So, they are suing him for a little over $140,000 for the work he did and a whole bunch of other stuff (owner fell down, dog got sick, etc).

The thing is we had a contract directly with the owner (i.e. plaintiff). The owner paid us directly. I did not have a contract with the landscape contractor.

We provided electrical service at the BBQ and the Waterfall, plus a few other outlets around the yard. We also repaired and installed some lighting on the house (very minor).

Owner was happy, we were "somewhat" happy and that was it.

Now they have decided to sue anyone and everyone that was near their house. Because I have a working relationship with the landscape contractor, they have named me and the plumber that was there, in their lawsuit.

I did read the complaint and saw absolutely nothing referencing any of the work we did, zip, nothing.

Anyway, I have contacted a construction attorney and will be getting together with them and go over this.

Anybody else have similar experiences.
 

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I have been sued 4 times, lost once.
My suggestion is to go head first to it and don't operate from a position of fear (weakness).
Best of luck.
 

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The story is: the residential client is really pissed off at the landscape contractor who did their back yard. So, they are suing him for a little over $140,000 for the work he did and a whole bunch of other stuff (owner fell down, dog got sick, etc).

The thing is we had a contract directly with the owner (i.e. plaintiff). The owner paid us directly. I did not have a contract with the landscape contractor.

We provided electrical service at the BBQ and the Waterfall, plus a few other outlets around the yard. We also repaired and installed some lighting on the house (very minor).

Owner was happy, we were "somewhat" happy and that was it.

Now they have decided to sue anyone and everyone that was near their house. Because I have a working relationship with the landscape contractor, they have named me and the plumber that was there, in their lawsuit.

I did read the complaint and saw absolutely nothing referencing any of the work we did, zip, nothing.

Anyway, I have contacted a construction attorney and will be getting together with them and go over this.

Anybody else have similar experiences.
Don't waste your money on an attorney at this point. I had a similar situation in being sued for lead poisoning for a property I never owned. The homeowner here is doing a Spray and Pray law job to see who will be willing to settle. I filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of connection and causation. Cost me $30 for the legal forms and I countersued the law firm for $1,500 for filing an illegitimate claim. It was dropped very very quickly.

Here is a link to one site that can help
http://www.northwestregisteredagent.com/motion-to-dismiss.html

If you have the money to burn then skip it and go with the attorney. Otherwise, you can file this yourself as Pro Se and it will get dismissed based on the given facts. If for some reason there is evidence of causation then you should get the attorney but for now it is not necessary.
 

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Follow up question: Did you recommend the landscape company to the client? If so, there is a legal precedent for a certain level of liability. I remembered a case a few years ago where a local hardware store recommended a painting company to a customer. The guys used way too much paint thinner, left the soaked rags exposed in high heat and after they went home one day, the house burned down. Hardware store had to settle with the homeowners for liability because without their referral the homeowners would have used another painting company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Follow up question: Did you recommend the landscape company to the client? If so, there is a legal precedent for a certain level of liability. I remembered a case a few years ago where a local hardware store recommended a painting company to a customer. The guys used way too much paint thinner, left the soaked rags exposed in high heat and after they went home one day, the house burned down. Hardware store had to settle with the homeowners for liability because without their referral the homeowners would have used another painting company.
Nope...The landscaper recommend me..I gave the client a bid...they accepted my bid...so my contract was with them...The landscaper got a finders fee...which he returned to me about 2 months later...I was paid directly by the client..
 

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Lawsuits

First the disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and I don't know much about litigation, but...

If you go into court, pro se (representing yourself) *sometimes* the judges will look kindly on you. My husband is a litigator and he hates it when he's dealing with a pro se litigant, because the court goes to great length (sometimes) to protect the poor sap who has no experience in the legal world.

That being said, we do not have a justice system, we have a legal system, and too often, you get as much "justice" as money can buy.

I hope you get dismissed from the lawsuit tout suite.

As someone who's seen the legal system upclose and personal, I fear that lawsuits will be America's undoing.

:mad:
 

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If you have insurance that covers this, your insurance company lawyers normally would handle it. The fact that they didn't make a claim against your insurance basically should get your part thrown out. Judges don't want to have stuff in their court that should have been pursued outside of court first.

The insurance company lawyers don't cost you any thing.
 

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If you have insurance that covers this, your insurance company lawyers normally would handle it. The fact that they didn't make a claim against your insurance basically should get your part thrown out. Judges don't want to have stuff in their court that should have been pursued outside of court first.

The insurance company lawyers don't cost you any thing.
I've only been sued once, and my GL covered the attorney of my choosing.
 

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I've only been sued once, and my GL covered the attorney of my choosing.
Cool! Mine never got close to court - completely baseless, but that doesn't keep people from trying to reach into others' pockets.

Friend of mine received a letter demanding $1000 or they'd sue. That was baseless as well. so they wrote a letter back saying no way, and some clever words about extortion.
 

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BTW, based on an earlier thread, I believe CWAT is one of the best electricians for rewiring a plaster house in his area. He can tell you if I'm right or wrong.;)
 

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That being said, we do not have a justice system, we have a legal system, and too often, you get as much "justice" as money can buy.

I hope you get dismissed from the lawsuit tout suite.

As someone who's seen the legal system upclose and personal, I fear that lawsuits will be America's undoing.

:mad:
This right is the down right truth. Who ever has more money usually wins.

If you have insurance that covers this, your insurance company lawyers normally would handle it. I wouldnt trust an insurance company to protect you. they are only protecting their contractual agreement they have with you. when it comes to lawsuits and insurance companies, hire your own attorney. THAT lesson cost me tens of thousands out of pocket and over 3 years of extreme emotional distress. :censored: The fact that they didn't make a claim against your insurance basically should get your part thrown out. Not true! When your in a car accident and they sue you, the lawsuit has YOUR name on it... NOT your insurance companies. Judges don't want to have stuff in their court that should have been pursued outside of court first.

The insurance company lawyers don't cost you any thing.
Insurance company lawyers are NOT absolutely DO NOT put much faith in the insurance comapny to save your ass. they will hang you out to dry!

First, I would do what was proposed earlier, go online get the forms, hell you could go to the court house and ask for the forms, they will normally have a booklet you either can wiggle away for free or a small fee that will explain in relative easy ways on how to respond. YOU MUST RESPOND!

then, make a copy of the contract, go to a bank and get it notarized. then, reply to the court and say something like;

As per request, please see Exhibit A as proof of lack of responsibility and/or liability in connection with the above referenced case number. Therefore I Donald Duck, motion for the this court to dismiss all charges of negligence aganst me, my company and/or employees or associates with out prejudice.

then at the bottom...

put this..

Sincerely,
Donald Duck (signed)
123 Quacking Lane
Feathertown, USA 90210

be sure to reference the case number at the top... and be sure to include your evidence so the court can reveiw your evidence...

and if you wanna go a lil step further, you can ask the court for documentation and legal standing as to where the plaintiff gets off attacking you.
 

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As per request, please see Exhibit A as proof of lack of responsibility and/or liability in connection with the above referenced case number. Therefore I Donald Duck, motion for the this court to dismiss all charges of negligence aganst me, my company and/or employees or associates with out prejudice.
Again, I'm no lawyer, but I think you meant to say (in the above example), that you want the case dismissed WITH prejudice, which just means it is PERMANENTLY dismissed (and can not be brought before the court again).

If it's dismissed without prejudiced, it can come back. I don't think that's the desired outcome. :no:
 

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This right is the down right truth. Who ever has more money usually wins.



Insurance company lawyers are NOT absolutely DO NOT put much faith in the insurance comapny to save your ass. they will hang you out to dry!

First, I would do what was proposed earlier, go online get the forms, hell you could go to the court house and ask for the forms, they will normally have a booklet you either can wiggle away for free or a small fee that will explain in relative easy ways on how to respond. YOU MUST RESPOND!

then, make a copy of the contract, go to a bank and get it notarized. then, reply to the court and say something like;

As per request, please see Exhibit A as proof of lack of responsibility and/or liability in connection with the above referenced case number. Therefore I Donald Duck, motion for the this court to dismiss all charges of negligence aganst me, my company and/or employees or associates with out prejudice.

then at the bottom...

put this..

Sincerely,
Donald Duck (signed)
123 Quacking Lane
Feathertown, USA 90210

be sure to reference the case number at the top... and be sure to include your evidence so the court can reveiw your evidence...

and if you wanna go a lil step further, you can ask the court for documentation and legal standing as to where the plaintiff gets off attacking you.
Mine never made it to court, so your experience trumps mine (unfortunately for you).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
BTW, good to see you around CWAT!
Thanks. We have been booked solid for at least the last two years. I can't think of when I have had more than two days (Sat and Sun) off, and, even then, I am working on some project.

So basically, I have no free time to engage in many of the threads.

I have four contractors sending us work, and, they got busy....and so it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My attorney has looked over the summons and basically, it's the landscape contractors insurance firm that is suing me and the plumber.
 

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Sorry to hear of your troubles cwatbay.

A few points on the insurance side:

You are supposed to report the liability claim as soon as practicable. If you delay reporting the claim because you think you will just handle it on your own, and later the situation snowballs and you then want to bring in the insurers after all, you may have a problem. If the insurers feel that the delay in reporting cost them the edge, then they may hold you partially responsible for extra expenses or payments that they wouldn't have had if the claim had been reported, investigated and defended sooner.

Were any insurance certificates issued either by your company to the landscape contractor or homeowner; or the landscape contractor to your company? If you obtained a certificate from the landscape contractor and had them add your company name as an Additional Insured to their policy, then their insurance company will have to pay to mount your defence and get your name cleared off of the lawsuit. You still go through your insurer, but any defence costs paid out won't be on your claims history; it will be on the landscape contractor's. A bit late now perhaps, but this is a good example of why a contractor would want to go through the extra trouble of getting insurance certificates and being added as Additional Insureds re liability.

The deductible on most liability policies only applies if a payment is made to the third party. If it turns out that there are only defence costs to clear your name, then check to see how your policy is worded, as you likely won't have to pay any deductible. Many adjusters erroneously charge the deductible when you are not required to pay it.

It was suggested to retain your own lawyer and not just rely on the insurance company's lawyers. This is a good suggestion. Ultimately, the insurance company will settle based on their best interest; i.e. what costs them the least amount of money. So, they may agree to pay out a nominal amount to make the lawsuit go away (referred to as a "nuisance" claim) even if you would want to take the extra time and trouble to clear your name and preserve your reputation. You'll have to coordinate this with the insurance company though as one of the conditions for them covering and defending your liability claim is that you let them handle it the way they want. Your insurance broker can help advocate in this regard so that your own lawyer is in the loop.
 
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