If abusiness owes me money for work performedbutI don’t have a formal contract, canI sue?

About 4 years ago I opened up an iron works, and at that time I was offered 2 huge jobs (around $1,500,000 for both). I never did a legal contract, but I have many invoices and copies of checks. Also, the job is there and complete. I’m owed around $500,000. Can I take the owner to court and sue him, and is there any possibility of winning?

Asked on March 10, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can absolutely sue for work demonstrably done for someone. Verbal or oral agreements are enforceable--it's not required that a contract or work order be in writing. Obviously, a written contract is helpful (in the future, *always* have one), but it sounds like you have other evidence. Moreover, if work is done for someone and it's accepted--i.e. they don't reject or return the work as not commissioned or approved--the person accepting it has to pay for it; they can't take/keep the work or product then not pay.

Based on what you right, it would be well worth it for you to consult with a commercial or business attorney about taking legal action to recover the money owed you. Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.