Legal Question in Business Law in Colorado

''non-payment of services rendered: valid?''

A General Contractor decided to ''penalize'' a subcontractor by witholding a week's worth of pay. The ''contract'' was on a time and materials, thus the subcontractor billed for his hours. The reason by the General was that the sub was working too slowly, although this dissatisfaction was never shared UNTIL the subcontractor called to find out why only partial payment was made. The subcontractor explained that he would be taking the General to small claims court, and at that time, the General threatened to tell the judge that he knows of at least one instance where the subcontractor smoked marijuana on his lunch break, and thus, payment is not warranted. Is this valid? Please advise.



Asked on 9/18/01, 5:53 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Eric Fisher Law Office of Eric A. Fisher. LLC

Re: ''non-payment of services rendered: valid?''

If the allegation of smoking marijuana is false, you may have a defamation claim, but if true, the use of marijuana at work may be relevant to the GC's allegation that the sub was working too slowly. Any claim for money owed should be based on a contract, and if that doesn't exist, a court could award money based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.

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Answered on 11/06/01, 11:44 am
Louise Aron Attorney at Law

Payment for services

Louise Aron

Attorney at Law

Lakewood Office:

1536 South Ingalls

Lakewood, Colorado 80232 USA

(303) 922 7687

fax (303) 922-1370

Cherry Creek Office:

300 South Jackson #100

Denver, Colorado 80209 USA

(303) 780-7339

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Boulder - 4450 Arapahoe Avenue, #100

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A TOLL FREE NUMBER is available to clients outside the Denver metro area.

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Date this question was provided by LawGuru to this attorney: November 5, 2001

Date of this answer: November 6, 2001

LawGuru User

Dear LawGuru User:

The information you provided makes a complete and thorough answer impossible.

However, if you believe that the general contractor is wrong and is penalizing you unfairly, I recommend that you prepare and serve a Notice of Intent to File Lien for your time and any materials.

Notices of Intent to File Liens may be filed immediately after work on a job is completed, but before the expiration of two months after completion of work in the case of liens for labor and work by the day or piece, but without furnishing laborers or materials.

In the case of all other liens (eg. labor and materials), the time period is four months after date of completion of work.

In evaluating your case, after obtaining further information from you, I would place greater importance on the agreed contract price and the quality of the work than I would on drug use by a laborer. Unfortunately, it is very common for workers to drink alcohol, to take higher than the recommended dosages of prescription medications and to engage in many other questionable activities before and during the work day. As long as services were performed to specifications and there were no grounds for offset, the contractor cannot withhold agreed compensation.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

Thank you for using LawGuru.


Louise Aron

Attorney at Law

My web site

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Answered on 11/06/01, 7:10 pm

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