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A Sticky Landscaping Legal Problem

Landscaping Legal Help

Today we’re going to talk about the legal problems. I am by no means an expert on anything legal, but I do have a lot of unfortunate experiences.  I’m gonna share two horror stories out of the fricking catalog of horror I have. Hopefully, this will help you guys out.

Unauthorized Retaining Wall Repair

The first horror story I am going to share with you something some of you may be familiar with. We did a giant boulder retaining wall, and during that process, something happened to the neighbor's retaining wall. My customer asked me to go out and fix the neighbor's retaining walls. He was just nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs that the next door neighbor was going to mad at him. He wanted me to help them out in some way. Because I was doing such a big project for him in the first place, as a kindness to my customer, I went to the neighbor’s house and fixed their retaining wall. That guy is suing me for$9,000 for repairing his retaining walls. He’s suing me because I did an unauthorized repair and trespassed on his property. My mistake occurred when, for some reason, I thought that my customer was in communication with this guy. I was trying to do this guy a favor and never communicate directly with the neighbor. I should have charged the guy I was doing the repair He’s suing me because I did an unauthorized repair and trespassed on his property. My mistake occurred when, for some reason, I thought that my customer was in communication with this guy. I was trying to do this guy a favor and never communicate directly with the neighbor. I should have charged the guy I was doing the repair to. That was the first thing that I should have automatically sent him an invoice, but I didn’t.  I was just trying to make my customer happy since we were going to be there for 3 months. Big mistake. That one is actually in the process right now. I have an idea how I’m going to handle that, and after this thing finally goes through the wash I’m going to share that with you. But for right now, I can’t legally share any more information than that knowledge with you.

Double Down

Now my second horror story is almost a pattern that I’ve noticed in the industry, and I’m going to share this with you. It may be able to help you fabricate a response because I’ve seen it over and over again. We did a big excavating job for a guy that owns a rental center over in Maplewood.  That final invoice came to $10,000, and this guy decided to sue us for $20,000.  He took exactly what he owed us and doubled it, but he didn’t stop there. Then he went to the builder who was fabricating the building, and after the shell was up, he decided to sue the builder for exactly double what he owed him.  He did that to various other sub contractors, and all of the other subs got intimidated by the fact that they were facing double the lawsuit against what they were owed. Not us.  Well, I shouldn’t say us. Not my dad.  That was my dad at that point. Stubborn old man.  Love him.  He fought it and hired an attorney. What we found out during this process was this guy actually had multiple lawsuits from other parties. Our attorney was already going after this guy because he was also a builder, and he was having customers pay for materials and then not perform the work. The customers were suing him as well, and he was countersuing them for double. I thought this was a one-time occurrence and would never happen again. We did end up winning, but we only won a portion of our lawsuit.  All of the other contractors dropped out.  They just dropped their invoices out of intimidation. Since that time (this was 20 years ago or more) I’ve noticed the pattern where people will file counter suits for double the invoice that you’re trying to collect them. I’ve seen it happen more than once. I’m just trying to show you a pattern of what can occur so you may not be shocked and awed if it happens to you. Remember the bigger your company, the bigger the bulls-eye you have your back. Please don’t let them make you afraid to grow, but let that make you prepared to grow.  Allow it to prepare you for the potential problems that come.

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