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Turn to the trusted attorneys at Robinson & Henry for any contractor dispute. Whether you seek a settlement or litigation, we have the experience, knowledge, and skills to help resolve your problem.
Dishonest contractors will take advantage of you and other homeowners. We are willing and able to help.
With three offices throughout Colorado, more than 40 attorneys, and 40 team members, Robinson & Henry has the size and strength to fight for you. In 2017, the Denver Business Journal named Robinson & Henry as one of the Fastest Growing Private Firms in Colorado and one of the 50 Largest Law Firms in the Denver Metro area.
ERICA L. BERTINIAttorney
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DANIEL A. JACOBSAttorney
PATRICK E. KENNEYAttorney
RYAN ROBERTSON Attorney
ALLISON SUTTON Attorney
MICHAEL J. WEICHERAttorney
STEPHEN WHITMORE Attorney
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Under a beach of contract claim, you are entitled to damages equal to the amount that was reasonably within the contemplation of the parties when you entered into the contract. In addition, you are entitled to damages that are the natural and proximate result of the breach of contract.
Breach of contract claims often include claims for poor workmanship, excessive delays, or cost overruns. Depending on your facts and the language in the contract, damages can include loss rents, loss of use, inconvenience damages, and other consequential damages.
It's important to talk with an attorney to discuss your damages and which claims to assert. Colorado's economic loss rule or a liquidated damages clause in your contract can significantly reduce the amount of damages that you can recover, so filing the correct claims is critical to the lawsuit's success.
Claims for Delay
Damages for delay can include lost profits or the net rental value during the period that the project was delayed by the contractor. Damages for delay can often be sought by property owners, even if the owner did not intend to rent the building after completion of the project.
Damages for delay can also include loss of use. The measure of damges for loss of use is lost profits, or if there is no proof of rental income, then the reasonable rental value may be used.
Even if a "no damages for delay" provision was included in a contract, an exception may apply. For example, active interference, delays outside of the scope of the contract, when there was no schedule, or when the contractor acted with fraud or bad faith, are all exceptions to a no damages for delay clause.
Claims for Shoddy Work
When a contractor does shoddy work and breaches the contract, the owner is entitled to damages. Damages includes both direct damages, as well as damages that are the natural and probably cause of the poor workmanship.
To measure damages, the courts will put the owner in the position he or she would have been in had the breach not occurred. That means that owners are entitled to recover the cost of repairing the shoddy work.
Alternatively, the court may award damages equal to the difference between what the market value should have been after the project was completed and as it now exists. Other damages, such as damages for delay, may also be recovered from contractors depending on the circumstances.
Civil Theft Claims
If you pay a contractor, and the contractor does not pay its subs, the contractor may be liable for civil theft. For example, a homeowner brought an action against a construction firm for breach of contract and a claim against firm's owner individually for breach of fiduciary duty and noncompliance with Mechanic's Lien Trust Fund Statute. The homeowner asserted that the contractor did not pay its subcontractors, although he had been paid.
The homeowner won. The court also awarded treble damages to the homeowner under the civil theft statute.
Syfrett v. Pullen, 209 P.3d 1167 (Colo.App.,2008)
Invalid Liens (Spurious Mechanic's Liens)
Colorado law includes severe penalties if the contractor "with intent to cheat or defraud" exaggerates the amount of the lien filed against an owner's property. Those penalties include the complete forfeit of the right to a lien.
In addition, if the amount of the lien is "for an amount greater than is due without a reasonable possibility that the amount claimed is due and with the knowledge that the amount claimed is greater than the amount then due" the contractor is also liable for costs and attorney's fees as well.
Performing Unlicensed work
General contractors, plumbers, and electricians who are not properly licensed may be subject to a claim for violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. If a claim under the CCPA is successful, the plaintiff is entitled to an amount equal to the sum of the greater of the damages actually sustained, $500, or, if bad faith is proved by clear and convincing evidence, 3 times the amount of actual damages. In the case of a successful action under the CCPA, the plaintiff is also entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court.