Residential construction disputes can sometimes take nasty turns. This is not attributed to one specific reason, but a variety of factors. Sometimes, there are not sophisticated contracts (or contracts at all). Sometimes, relationships and roles get blurred. Sometimes, parties try to skirt licensure requirements. Sometimes, a party is just unreasonable as to their expectations. And, sometimes, a party tries to leverage a construction lien to get what they want. In all disputes, a party would certainly be best suited to work with construction counsel that has experience navigating construction disputes.
An example of a construction dispute that took a nasty turn involving an interior decorator is SG 2901, LLC v. Complimenti, Inc., 2021 WL 2672295 (Fla. 3d DCA 2021). In this case, a condominium unit owner wanted to renovate his apartment. He hired an interior decorator to assist. As his renovation plans became more expansive, the interior decorator told him he would need to hire a licensed contractor and architect. The interior decorator arranged a meeting with those professionals and, at that meeting, they were hired by the owner and told to deal directly with the interior decorator, almost in an owner’s representative capacity since the owner traveled a lot. The interior decorator e-mailed the owner about status and requested certain authorizations, as one would expect an owner’s representative to do. At the completion of the renovation job, the owner did not pay the interior decorator because he was unhappy with certain renovations. The interior decorator recorded a construction lien and sued the owner which included a lien foreclosure claim. There was no discussion of the contracts in this case because, presumably, contracts were based on proposals, were bare-boned, or were oral.