Who is responsible for the cost of products and clean up at a fireworks tent after the whole tent was destroyed in a storm with 80mph winds?

I was hired by a fireworks company to sell fireworks at a tent in clarksville TN. I was hired as an independent contractor with them delivering the fireworks on account to be settled after the season was over. I would receive 10% of the total sales from the tent. On 7-4 a unexpected storm came in, with 80 mph winds and destroyed the tent and most of the products inside. The company expected me stay there with no tent to sleep in and clean up all the mess and box up all the destroyed fireworks. How would this be my responsibility when i only get a percentage of the sales?

Asked on July 8, 2012 under Business Law, Tennessee


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In order to answer the question that you have written about you need to carefully read the presumed written independent contractor's agreement that you signed with respect to the sale of fireworks. The document sets forth the obligations owed to you by the fireworks company and vice versa.

Any clean up responsibilities with respect to the stand that you posted that you would be obligated for would be listed in any documents that you signed for your position.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You would not be legally responsible for damage done by an "act of god," like weather, or otherwise beyond your control, in the sense that you could not be sued for the damage or the cost to clean it up. (With two exceptions, however: 1) if you had a contract in which you accepted this responsibility; or 2) you were negligent, or careless, in how you set up the tent and products and therefore contributed to the damage.)

However, your employer could hold you responsible in the following way: they could refuse to hire you again unless you cleaned up the problem to their satisfaction. That might not be fair, but it would be legal.

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