If a general constractor has not been paid, can a sub-contractor still sue the GC for their payment?

I am a contractor owe an employee/subcontractor $2,000. He is threatening me to sue me for $4,000 in civil court. I did not pay him because I did not get paid for homeowner. I liened the house and told when and if i get paid he will. Should I be worried?

Asked on September 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should be worried. Unless your contract with the subcontractor--the one he agreed to before doing the work--specifically said that you are not obligated to pay him until you are paid, you have to pay him regardless of whether or not you are paid. When someone does work for  you, as a subcontractor or otherwise, you are legally obligated to pay even if you haven't received funds or payment. However, the subcontractor may not sue you for more  than the amount which you should have paid you.

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