Legal advice: My silage contractor wants to sue me
I recently changed silage contractor. He was a good bit cheaper than the guy I had been getting for years. However, now I can see why.
His drivers were a disgrace. I happened to be away when they went at the silage and when I came back the place was destroyed. The pit was terribly rolled and the drivers knocked two piers coming out gates.
I told the contractor at the time that I wasn’t happy with the work and that I wasn’t going to pay him until he fixes the place. Now he’s threatening to sue me for the money. What are my rights here?
Thank you for your query. You say that you engaged a new silage contractor who was a good but cheaper than the contractor you had been getting for years.
You also say the place was destroyed – the pit was terribly rolled and there were two piers knocked coming out your gates. You do not mention anything else. You say you informed the contractor at the time you were unhappy and would not pay until he fixed the place. I assume from your query that the contractor did not return to rectify the pit and so the bill is still outstanding.
When someone is owed money by another, it is open to that person to issue debt recovery proceedings to recover that money. The place in which the proceedings are issued is usually the court area in which the address of the debtor (the person who owes the money) is situate.
The Court level at which the proceedings are issued depends on the amount of money owed. For example, the District Court can deal with debt recovery proceedings where the sum owed is less than €15,000.
As you have not paid the bill, it is open in this case for the silage contractor to issue Debt Recovery proceedings against you. You could then submit a counterclaim against the contractor in those proceedings for the cost of replacing the two piers. You would have to get a quote for the cost of replacing the piers.
However, in my view you would incur unnecessary legal costs in allowing this to happen. It would be far more prudent for you to get a quote for the cost of replacing the two piers, meet with the silage contractor and give him a copy of the quote and inform him you are deducting the cost of the two piers from his bill and pay him the balance.
This could deter the contractor from issuing proceedings against you it would also cost him money to do so.
It is always advisable to consider the practical approach when dealing with matters such as those outlined by you as there is little point in everyone incurring legal costs that could outweigh the sum of the debt itself.
Deirdre Flynn is from a farming background and practices as a Solicitor at Deirdre Flynn Solicitors, Cathedral View, Ardfert, Co. Kerry Tel: 066 7115695 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The information in this article is intended as a general guide only. While every care is taken to ensure accuracy of information provided, Deirdre Flynn does not accept responsibility for errors or omissions howsoever arising. You should seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances at the earliest possible time.
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