DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

February 14, 2013

A store may not be liable in a 'slip-and-fall' case

(Continued)

Is a verbal contract legally binding? I agreed to do work for my landlord, including concrete patching, simple plumbing, snow and ice treatment, and other things.

He said he would pay me $25 per hour, plus materials. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on cement, materials and rock salt. Now the landlord is blowing me off saying it was all a favor.

Obviously a written contract is best every time. However here, you may be able to enforce a contract in court if you have witnesses.

Another strong argument is detrimental reliance, which helps you if, in reliance on being paid you spent money for materials and worked for hours.

A final argument is what the law calls quantum meruit. This legal theory acknowledges that there was no contract, but that as a matter of equity, you are entitled to recover the fair value of your services. Part of the equitable remedy is your out-of-pocket costs.

Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to andrew@attorney-myers.com.

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