Am I obliged to pay money to a friend who was unable to fully complete our agreement due to illness?

I requested a friend, an architect to design a house for me, I did not go into specifics because he didn’t ask. He said he’d do it in approximately 3 months and for approximately $10,000. Just over half way through, he had appendicitis and had his appendix out. He let me know that he was happy to resume in 3 weeks on doctor’s advice, if I was okay with it. I was not okay with it as the timing was crucial for me. He is now demanding 7500 for the work he has done so far, I did not want to pay it as this has set me back 2 months. Am I obliged to pay him, even though he has not completed the plans?

Asked on March 28, 2017 under Business Law, Alaska


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your friend has a right to compensation for the work completed on the design of your house.  You may be able to negotiate a lesser amount than what he is demanding; however, as stated above, he has a right to compensation for the work completed and he did complete more than half.
If you were to sue him for breach of contract, you would lose because he would assert the defense of impossibility (of performing his contractual duties) since he was ill with appendicitis for three weeks.

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