Legal Question in Technology Law in Florida

Liability For Taking Down Non-paying Client's Website

I am a Web site developer. A client stopped paying her bill, and after several requests for payment and warnings of consequences were ignored, I took her site offline. Having sent a certified letter stating my demand and deadline for payment, I am about to take her to small claims court for the amount due, which comes to around $600.

She is an attorney and a politician (and a truly awful person) and has responded to my demand letter by offering 1/3 of the amount due. She claims that her ''constituents are not able to access my website ... because of your unilateral action in closing the site,'' that ''the damages are significant,'' but that she would be ''willing waive all claims for damages'' if I accept her offer. I told her I would not accept.

Can I be held liable for ''damages'' resulting from taking down my client's website due to the fact that she has neglected -- and now refuses -- to pay her bill?

Asked on 1/13/09, 8:05 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's

Re: Liability For Taking Down Non-paying Client's Website

This can be complicated if you don't have a written contract. I'm licensed in FL and focus on Internet law; so call or write if you want to discuss this problem. It would be easy enough to avoid this in the future, and dealing with her might not be as difficult as you may think.

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Answered on 1/25/09, 6:39 pm
Hunter Chamberlin Chamberlin Butler & Crowe, P.A.

Re: Liability For Taking Down Non-paying Client's Website

You had a contract. She breached. Therefore, you are no longer obligated to perform. End of story. There is nothing in the law that requires you to provide her with a free website. That has not (yet) become an entitlement.

I am VERY curious to know her name. I would love to discuss the matter with you further. Please contact me at your convenience. I have other thoughts as to how you can proceed, particularly because she is a public figure and thus special rules apply to her.

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Answered on 1/14/09, 8:36 am

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