What are our rights//responsibilities if we have been doing moving work for a big development company for many years and recently chipped a very expensive table?

They told us it was fine and we even offered to have the granite professionally repaired, which would be most sensible, but the company now sold the chipped table 3 months later with a display suite and gave the couple the credit for the full cost, including the table without any consultation with us and are now asking for us to reimburse the full cost through money or labor. We do have insurance but with a deductible worth 1/5th of the table so we are not sure what to do at this point and do not want to lose work with the company.

Asked on October 26, 2015 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you chipped the table, you are responsible for the damage you did, and the development company (as the "damaged" party), not you, are allowed decide how best to handle the situation: i.e. let you repair it, or charge you for the damage you did, etc. But they can't get "double recovery"--i.e. legally, they can't get the full cost from you, then also sell the table, even at a discount, and profit thereby. So say the table cost $10,000. You say it was sold "with a display suite." Say that the portion of the value of the suite reasonably attributed to the chipped table (the chipped table's share of the sale price) was $3,000. Then they could recover from you the $7,000 difference between the value of the undamaged table and what they recovered from selling it in its damaged condition.
That's the law. Practically, if they insist on the full value from you, you need to to decide whether it is worth paying more than legally you should, to keep them happy and keep their business.


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