The most important claims that you must file against a bad contractor include claims for breach of contract, negligence, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitations Sales Act:
I. BREACH OF CONTRACT
In order to have a valid breach of contract claim, you need to have a sufficient offer and sufficient consideration between you and the contractor to complete the particular project. The duty of the construction contractor to perform in a workmanlike manner is imposed by common law upon all builders and contractors. The failure on the part of a contractor or builder to perform in a workmanlike manner constitutes a breach of contract entitling you to damages.
II. NEGLIGENCE AND DEFECTIVE WORKMANSHIP
In order to establish a negligence claim, you must prove the following elements:
1) the existence of a duty on the part of the contractor or builder;
2) breach of that duty; and
3) damages that were proximately or the direct cause of that breach of duty.
In order to prove that your contractor or builder defectively performed the work, you must prove the following elements:
1) that your contractor or builder defectively performed the work;
2) that the work fell below acceptable industry standards; and
3) that the work was not performed in a workmanlike manner.
III. VIOLATION OF THE OHIO CONSUMER SALES PRACTICES ACT INCLUDING THE HOME SOLICITATION SALES ACT
All building codes require that your builder or contractor perform his or her work in a workmanlike manner pursuant to the applicable building codes. Your contractor or builder must comply with all of the requirements imposed by all applicable building codes and ordinances. The Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act prohibits unfair or deceptive sales practices that are defined as those practices that mislead consumers about the nature of the product or services that they are receiving. The Consumer Sales Practices Act also prohibits any unconscionable acts or when a builder or contractor misleads a consumer about any of the supplies purchased or about the nature of the work to be performed that is at issue in their case.
To be actionable under the Consumer Sales Practices Act, the performance must amount to an unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable act. There are several violations that have been previously decided by Ohio courts to constitute unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable acts pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 1345.05 (A)(3): (A) the contractor failed to perform services in a competent, satisfactory, and workmanlike matter, and he or she failed to or refused to correct the substantial work or defect; and (B) failure to honor express warranties.
IV. BREACH OF EXPRESS WARRANTY OF ALL REPAIRS, WARRANTY OF ALL SUPPLIES, AND BREACH OF EXPRESS AND IMPLIED WARRANTIES
V. EXPERT TESTIMONY IS NECESSARY TO PROVE ALL OF YOUR CLAIMS
It is essential in any negligence or defective work claim that you have an expert who is a contractor or builder that will testify that the builder or contractor breached their duties to you and negligently performed the work and caused damage. They will also need to testify that the builder or contractor defectively performed the work, that the work fell below acceptable industry standards, and that the work was not performed in a workmanlike manner.
If you are feeling stuck with a bad contractor, The Law Office of Tom Somos, LLC can help. We have assisted numerous clients through the years, and we will put that experience to work for you.