How to recover funds owed a subcontractor?

We are dealing with 2 situations right now where we were subcontracted to complete painting work for 2 difference contractors and in both scenarios the majority of the work was completed but payment is not being provided. The first was Contractor 1 who hired us to do an exterior job. We did the bulk of the work including added work that the homeowner requested on site but because of site restrictions the work was unable to be completed, not just by us but at all. We have still not been paid for the work that was completed. What is our course of action here? The second is Contractor 2 who we were actively working on multiple jobs with. When C2 called while we were on another job site not associated with them at all, they called to complain that we could not go back to a job that was

previously completed and add more work at that moment. C2 called, threatened us with bodily harm and has now since refused to even communicate with us about the completion and payment of the 1 job that was outstanding which is 90% complete. What can we do here? We’ve tried reaching out by email, phone, text with no replies. We received a deposit only but that covered only about 25 of

the total project costs. This is taking thousands of dollars out of our pockets and this is our first year so it makes a large impact on our bottom line to lose out on payment for these jobs that we did complete the work for.

Asked on March 11, 2018 under Business Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You sue them--that's how you collect money owed you. You would sue for both of breach of contract (them violating their agreed-upon obligation--whether the agreement was in writing or was oral/unwritten--to pay you for the work you did) and "unjust enrichment" (them taking or accepting work which they knew was being done for pay without paying--the law does not let them be "unjustly enriched" or unfairly benefitted by not paying for what they knew was done for pay). If your business is an LLC or corporation, you must have a lawyer; if you are a sole proprietorship, while having a lawyer is recommended, if you cannot afford one, you are allowed to represent yourself (since a sole proprietorship *is* you) in court "pro se."


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