How can we go about getting money for construction work that was done for someone who is opening up a salon?

My husband worked for about 3 weeks putting in floor, sheetrock, and other construction work but the person who owns the salon kept telling him he was going to get paid the following day or so. He just kept telling him the same lie. It’s been another 3 or 4 weeks since my husband stopped working because he knew the guy wasn’t going to pay him. Can we legally sue the guy for nonpayment even if my husband didn’t have a contract with him?

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Business Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue; you had an oral (sometimes called verbal) contract or agreement, pursuant to which the work was done; such agreements are enforceable (though they are obviously more difficult to prove than written agreements). You and your husband could sue--possibly in small claims court, where he could act as his own attorney (for smaller amounts; for larger amounts, he should retain a lawyer)--to enforce the terms of the agreement under which he did work. You would need to prove, such as through testimony, or email, voicemails, text messages, etc. the terms of the agreement (i.e. what he should have been paid) and also that he did the work.

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