Construction Damages

Aug 21st, 2020 (edited)
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  1. My family suffered a house fire in 2017 and hired a construction contractor ("Ltn") to fix it. We signed a contract which had a deadline of a year (2018). Construction began with numerous delays throughout the project - the contractor seemed to really be dragging their feet. In short, construction goes on for 2 years longer than agreed upon (finishing in Feb 2020) and our temporary housing budget is exhausted during that time. We would have been homeless if it weren’t for our family willing to take us in during this time. After moving in, we gave them a short time to address the issue during which they didn’t respond so we sent a demand letter requesting $289K and finally got a response now that we are going after their license with the CSLB (CA State Licensing Board). Litigation (arbitration) is looming, and we are communicating at last for settlement. Their response seems to correct the falsified claims they had sent to our insurance, paying back to us instead (~$20K), but is far less than what we were after as it doesn't take into account any damages we would get if taken to court. We would be suing for breach of contract, but that typically doesn’t award damages for the emotional distress we suffered for the 2 years of being without a place of our own.
  4. We are preparing a response email to the contractor and I'm looking for some information in crafting a proper response. The message so far:
  6. ---
  7. Thanks for reaching out, M.
  9. We will agree to your offer of $____ for claim items, but we have no intention to settle out of court unless we also receive compensation for breach of contract and ______ and the resulting damages.
  11. ...[Addressing a number of sticking points the contractor had]
  13. Taking into account all these factors, we will settle this case out of court for $_____. This amount omits a number of charges we will be seeking in court.
  16. ----------------------------
  18. Note: I'm not in the law field. I’m learning as I go.
  20. 1) Excuse the brevity of this post, but what kinds of things do they seem liable for here other than breach of contract?
  21. 2) Is 'breach of contract' a type of 'charge'? Or is it called a 'claim'? I am familiar with ‘cause of action’.
  22. 3) Can a breach of contract overlap with another type of 'charge'?
  23. 4) Emotional distress (of having been without a home of our own for the 2 years past the deadline) is typically not awarded with breach of contracts, but in tort. How would you pursue this to be awarded (maximum) emotional distress damages?
  24. 5) What other damages should we include?
  25. 6) Would it be wise to admit to any part of the delay at all, however small, and settle for slightly less? (ie a total of 2 months of delay out of the 24 months). Or would that give a possibility to lose our whole case?
  26. 7) What amount would you settle for in this case?
  27. 8) Is my response good, or can it be worded better?
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