Do we have the right to sue for additional costs spent on a cancelled wedding?

Last year, my fiance and I put a deposit down on a local venue and signed a contract for a wedding on 5/20/2017. We were not given any reason to assume an issue would arise from the owners of the venue. We received a typed letter from the owners stating that due to some issues with the locals in their neighborhood, the wedding would likely be protested via signage and loud noise. We were informed that we could still have the wedding but were given no guarantees as towards our safety or the security of the event. We opted to cancel the event for safety concerns and because the idea of having the wedding protested is horrifying. We had already spent roughly $400 on paper goods stamps, save the dates, invites, licenses ABC and event insurance, and vendor services. Our issue is that the owner stated in their letter that the property had experienced protests of this nature previously, but this information wasn’t shared until 2/26/2017- well after we signed the contract and a couple of months from the wedding itself. We feel misled and that the property and the competency of the owners was misrepresented to us and kept us from making an informed decision. They gave us our deposit back as they were obligated by contract, but do we have grounds to take them to small claims court for the $400 for goods and services that we cannot use for another venue or date?

Asked on March 10, 2017 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the venue owners had reason to know of the potential issues prior to you booking with them (i.e. prior to signing the contract), as you indicate, then by failing to disclose such a material, or important, fact, they may have committed fraud by effectivley misrepresenting their ability to host your venue and provide you a wedding. (If they learned of the risk after you signed, they did nothing legally wrong.) Fraud could provide a basis to recover the costs you incurred due to reliance on their misrepresentation. So while the outcome of a legal case is never certain, you have stated facts that would appear to support a small claims case.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the venue owners had reason to know of the potential issues prior to you booking with them (i.e. prior to signing the contract), as you indicate, then by failing to disclose such a material, or important, fact, they may have committed fraud by effectivley misrepresenting their ability to host your venue and provide you a wedding. (If they learned of the risk after you signed, they did nothing legally wrong.) Fraud could provide a basis to recover the costs you incurred due to reliance on their misrepresentation. So while the outcome of a legal case is never certain, you have stated facts that would appear to support a small claims case.


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