QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
Since 2011, I have been working for a building contractor here in Jamaica, who has paid me three times. I have been doing electrical work and every time I am to get paid, he keeps giving me more work as my pay. Last year I got angry and went to the police who told me it was a civil matter. They called the man however and he gave me some money. He paid me cash and then a check.
After a year of me sitting down without any work, the same man came by and asked me to do an estimate for a totally new client for everything in construction. I did the estimate because he said he was giving me the client to make up for everything. He took the estimate and won the contract, but took over it over and promised me that I would get all the electrical works as compensation. I started the first electrical contract because at least I had work, but he only paid me a part of what we agreed to for my fee. Then he gave another electrical contractor the other .contract and told me he wanted to help out his friend. I feel I should get more than the balance he owes me as I keep working and working and he pays me when he feels like it. Can you help me get some monies from him.
RESPONSE: Dear Paul McDowell,
Cases like yours underlines the need to have written contracts and to separate business from pleasure. Briefly, you should be able to take this man to Court for monies he owes you for work done, refund of expenses you incurred on his behalf. You should also seek compensation for expenses you incurred as a result of his changing his mind. It is recommended that you speak with an attorney or get assistance to draft your case, if you wish to go to Court and represent yourself.
You may come to us to have a qualified person sit down with you and go through the contracts one by one and help you to understand where you both went wrong, and what you can be entitled to. There are also requirements and limitations that you will need to further understand. For example, at the Resident Magistrates (Civil) Court, you can only sue for 1 million.
Please feel free to make an appointment to see a member of our team.