Saint Petersburg, FL asked in Civil Litigation and Contracts for Florida

Q: Must plaintiff send a demand letter before filing a Small Claims suit for unfounded contract changes by defendant?

The unfounded changes were made by defendant while plaintiff was in the middle of the contracted job, and made so that defendant could further enrich himself at plaintiff's expense. Thus, plaintiff left the job and sent a bill in lieu of future services that were to be performed by the now-proven-unfair defendant.

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2 Lawyer Answers

A: It definitely helps your case to send a demand letter with an itemized bill. If you are in the contracting business you should have a lawyer on retainer. Breach of contract cases can be tricky and the judge may have to weigh if it is fair for the defendant to pay the full price of the contract when the contract was not fully performed. You may also have an argument you forego other jobs to take this one and are entitled to the full amount, but you would have to produce evidence to support that argument.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Ana Maria Del Valle-Aguilera
Ana Maria Del Valle-Aguilera
  • Miami, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If you have an executed contract, it would usually require that both parties agree to any changes or modifications. You are not very explicit on details, but it seems you did not agree to the changes your customer demanded and decided to stop the job and send a bill for future services that would have been performed under the contract as originally executed. Since your question is not regarding the actual contract, but just regarding providing your customer with notice of your intent to sue for collection, I would highly recommend that you do. It will look better in front of a judge if you not only followed the contractual terms but also provided ample opportunity to the customer to reach an agreement and may the payment as would be required under the contract.

My response provides only general information and is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice, nor create an attorney-client relationship. You should not use or rely on this information without first consulting with your own lawyer and discussing your specific facts and available options in detail.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

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