Can I take a company to small claims court if they verbally agreed to do something and then changed their mind?

I hired a company to level my yard for a swimming pool. I hired company just to level my yard not to install the swimming pool. Company said you have to put sand under pool and I said OK. Company dug a hole that was not level and “leveled” it with sand. Filled pool up and legs sank into sand and pool was leaning. Had to drain pool. Contacted company and said they needed to remove the sand and since they suggested I needed the sand they should do it for free. The company verbally agreed to remove the sand but then changed their mind. Can I sue the company for removal of sand cost.

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Business Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You would seem to have two different possible grounds or bases for a lawsuit:

Breach of contract: as a general matter, an oral agreement is enforceable.

Negligence: when a contractor performs its work in an unreasonably careless, or negligent way, they could be liable for the damage they do or cost to repair.

You should file the suit on both bases; that way, even if you end up losing on one for some reason (e.g. you can't sufficiently prove the existence or terms of the agreement) you still have another type of claim to pursue.

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