If my florist forgot about my wedding day and I had to contact her an hour before my wedding to inquire where my flowers were, can I sue to get my money back and for damages?

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If my florist forgot about my wedding day and I had to contact her an hour before my wedding to inquire where my flowers were, can I sue to get my money back and for damages?

She threw together flowers in an hour but they were not up to par quality wise. The bride’s flowers were yellow and smaller and the stems were not wrapped. The bridal party received flowers that were different than the picture I had seen at the florists store when choosing flowers. The contract is written out by the florist and after being in small claims court today I’ve learned she started crossing things out after we had already signed it. Do I have enough of a case to pursue this and appeal?

Asked on January 21, 2016 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

d on what you write, assuming (as we will assume) that you have credible testimony from yourself, your spouse, and possibly other people available, you would in theory have a solid case: a vendor or business is liable if they violate the terms of the contract; if their work is not up to professional or commercial standards; and certainly for unilaterally (on their own; without your consent) changing a contract after it is signed, whcih is not even remotely legal.
That said, it may not be worth appealing if you're already lost in small claims court:
1) Most appeals lose. Appellate courts are reluctant to second guess trial courts, and a case must be *very* strong typically to win--if there's any doubts, any chance the trial court was right, appellate courts will usually not disturb the verdict or judgment.
2) Appeals are technical, and you could lose an otherwise-valid appeal due to some procedural error.
3) Appeals can be expensive. Even if appealed yourself (pro se; no lawyer), you'd need to get a transcript of the small claims hearing/trial, which could be several hundred dollars easily; then you have the appellate filing fee; the cost to copy and serve documents...all in, even without a lawyer, you could easily spend over $1,000 for a less than 50-50 chance of winning. 
Small claims cases are rarely economically worth appealing.


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