I live with my mother in a single-family home in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. We both own the house. We have a Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship.
Recently, we signed a contract with a plumber for the replacement of our home's sewer pipe. The contract has three signtaures: my signature, my mother's signature, and the plumber's signature.
The following is the text of the contract:
Contractor is to supply all labor and material to complete the following:
Contractor located several sewer separations and will replace sewer pipe from city property to inside residence and connect to a good section of pipe. Contractor will also install a 6” clean-out for easy rodding access. Contractor will make all appropriate connections to restore house to proper working order. Contractor will use material to be in compliance with city codes. Anything unforeseen will be an additional cost. Contractor is not responsible for any damage caused to floors, walls, or landscaping.
The price of the above procedure is $13250.00. A deposit of $4500 will be needed to start work, $4300 will be due half way through the job, and the remaining amount will be due after inspection. There will be a lifetime guarantee on all labor.
We gave the plumber $4500. He and a subordinate plumber came to the home a few times and did some digging in our crawl space.
My mother took issue with the haphazard hours these plumbers were working. They were working only a few hours a day, and not every day. They seemed to be juggling us and other clients.
One day, my mother called the plumber in charge (whose signature is on the contract). My mother made this call without my approval. I was asleep when she made the call. She said to him that, if he was going to have these haphazard hours, then she didn't want him to come at all. He interpreted that statement to mean that she had fired him. So, he said that he was coming to the house to pick up his tools.
My mother woke me up and told me what had happened. I called him, and he said that he had been fired and that he was picking up his tools and leaving the project. I told him that *I* still wanted him on the job. Nevertheless, he came to the house, picked up his tools, and left the project.
I believe that he is in breach of contract. There is no provision in the contract that says that, if my mother and I disagree about firing him, then he can simply walk away from the contract.
Right now, the crawl space has been dug up to a huge extent, but that's only a fraction of the work that has to be done. The plumber has $4500 of our money. However, the work done by these plumbers, in my view, is worth far less than $4500.
I want to sue for breach of contract, for the amount of ($4500 - the value of the digging already done). Has the plumber in charge breached the contract?
Thanks for any information.