Am I entiled to compensation for getting a building ready to open restaurant if 1 of the owners decides against it?

I have been working, cleaning, decorating on this building for the last 9 months in hopes of opening this month, when 1 of the 2 owners decides he doesn’t want me to be on his property, when I was going into business with the other owner. I don’t know how the other owner did it but he has taken claim to everything along with my pizza oven. Is it legal for him to do what he did. Can I file a claim?

Asked on January 19, 2018 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You are entitled to whatever the agreement was between you and the owners for the work you did, whether that was pay, a share of the business, etc.: there is nothing set in the law to which you are entitled, but rather this is a matter of contract or agreement. Even if there was no written agreement but only an oral (unwritten) one, you are entitled to what they agreed to give you in exchange for your work. If they don't give you that voluntarily, your recourse would be to sue them for "breach of contract" to get what you are entitled to.
Oral (unwritten) agreements are enforceable in the law, but it is obviously more difficult to prove the existence of such an agreement and, if it exists, what its terms were. If you did not have a written agreement for this work, make sure that in the future, you always have one, since to win in court, you must be able to convince the court that there was an agreement and what it was for.


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