What to do about a photographer who did not live up to the terms of our agreement?

I hired someone to do photography for 2 days, flew them in to town (roundtrip flights) and paid for hotel. The first day, photos were erased due to the photographer’s negligence; he never saved them and did not double check the. Then on the 2nd day the photographer left 10 hours earlier then scheduled. Do I still have to pay his 2 day rate? Shouldn’t I be reimbursed for the flight and hotel, loss of footage and having to hire another photographer?

Asked on November 1, 2014 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The photographer evidently breached his contract (whether written or unwritten [oral]) with you, by not saving his photographs and by leaving early. His breach should entitle you to 1) not pay him, since you have not received what you were supposed to; and 2) recover your costs and losses from him caused by his breach (like the hotel and flight). Or, at least, that's the law: the problem is, if he won't pay voluntarily, to recover money, you'd have to sue him; and if he is from out of town, a) you can't sue in small claims court--you need to sue in "regular" court; and b) any out of town lawsuit is always pricier and more complicated than a local lawsuit. It may be the case it would not be worth the cost of pursuing this matter.


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