If my husband has a very small) business and owns it as a sole proprietor, what is our personal legal liability if he is sued?

There is no LLC. He performed work at a client’s home (structural repair work according to a licensed engineer and approved by the township’s building inspector; cost of repair $2,600) Client sold the home. New owner (several years later) is demanding that wall be entirely replaced. My husband is willing to make a repair but not replace the wall, even though he’s not sure if his workmanship is responsible (new owner had waterproofing done which involved digging up the foundation). If new homeowner sues what can he personally attach? My home (which is in my name only), our joint savings, my IRA and ROTH accounts, etc.?

Asked on April 22, 2015 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An asset in your name only would ne be subject to attachment.  But the Roth IRA and simple IRA's are not generally protected under the Federal laws that cover ERISA (under what is called an anti-alientation clause.  Was your husband insured?  If yes, contact the company asap and make a claim.  Also, from what you have said I think a good lawyer can help poke holes in the homeowner's case and there may have been too much time that has passed for a suit (called latches or a statute of limitations).  If the original homeowner had no problems but then the new homeowner did work and problems surfaced I would blame their new work. Don't give in so easily here. Good luck.


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