What is the legal relationship between a client and a subcontractor?

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2011

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What is the legal relationship between a client and a subcontractor?

I hired a general home improvement contractor. He estimated plumbing work (subbed out) at $350 and submitted his “final” invoice with that figure. He later received the invoice from the plumber and it was $1,000. He’s now asking me to pay his final invoice, less the “plumbing” portion, and asked me to pay the plumber $1,000 directly. He handed me the invoice that his plumber sent to him. Don’t know the plumber, never met him, didn’t oversee any of his work, only authorized $350, which the final invoice even showed. I don’t feel I’m obligated to pay $1,000 or work directly with subs.

Asked on August 25, 2011 Maryland


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

And I think that from the way that you have represented the facts here you are quite correct. If you have an all inclusive contract with the general contractor and that included the price of the plumbing work then the GC is out of luck for the balance.  But here is my concern for you: the filing of a mechanics lien by the sub contractor.  The GC is not going to pay his bill.  That I can see coming.  And what is going to result is the filing of a mechanics lien against your property.  And I see lawsuits to clear it up.  So maybe a compromise should be discussed here.  Good luck.

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