Can I suea contractorfor not completing work and leaving my family in danger?

I had someone remodeling my basement. This person dug up my floor so there is nothing by dirt, gravel and clay in my basement. This person will not answer my calls and will not come back and finish the work. What options do I have as far as suing him and posibly sending him to jail?

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Business Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Did you have a contract or agreement with the person doing the work? If so, did it specify how the work was to be done or completed? If it did, and the person did not honor the terms of the agreement, you could sue to enforce it. You might also be able to sue for (a) return of moneys paid; and/or (b) other damages or injuries (such as costs to pay another contract to complete the work) you've suffered as a result. You should consult with an attorney to see what your rights and remedies are in this specific case.

2) You probably can't send the person to jail unless he defrauded you--e.g. took you money while intending all along to not the do the work. Most instances of bad work and contractual disputes do not rise to the level of fraud. You can discuss this with your attorney, but usually, even when there is civil liability (e.g. an obligation to pay), there is no criminal liability.

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