Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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Sued By A New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor FAQs

INTRODUCTION
Read below to learn more about this topic.  Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send him an email.  Warning – this article does not necessarily include every Court rule, code or law that may apply to your New Jersey case!  The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws.  Before taking any action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney.  Court addresses, hours of operation and directions may change so check with the Court in advance of mailing documents to court or going there!  Some of the webpages on this site don’t apply to all types of New Jersey home contractor lawsuits, since there are different rules for different case types!


WHAT IF I AM SUED BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR?
If you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor, you shall be named to a New Jersey home contractor lawsuit or the New Jersey home improvement contractor counterclaim and must file a written response to the home contractor’s complaint or the New Jersey home improvement contractor counterclaim, called an answer.   Don’t ignore a New Jersey home improvement contractor complaint!  Failure to do so could result in your being defaulted and exposes you to the risk of having a Money judgment entered against you and thereafter, possibly losing money or property.  You may file an answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit in Court by preparing a written answer to the New Jersey contractor lawsuit disputing charges made against you in the home contractor’s complaint or the home contractor’s counterclaim and requesting that the Court dismiss the New Jersey contractor lawsuit.  If the home contractor or someone that isn’t named in the home contractor’s complaint owes you money or property based on the same set of facts as those in dispute in the home contractor’s complaint or facts related to the dispute, in addition to filing an answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit, you may also be able to file a counterclaim or third party complaint to recover the money or property (discussed below).  Court forms are often available at the appropriate court office and via the worldwide web.  However, neither Court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a New Jersey home improvement fraud attorney’s legal services.  Each New Jersey contractor lawsuit has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is very common for Homeowners to file inadequate or incorrect answers to Home improvement contractors’ complaints that result in the Homeowners’ answers to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuits being rejected by the Court or being dismissed by the Court after filing and before or after Trial because of procedural deficiencies.  It is important to be truthful and not to make misstatements of facts when answer to the home contractor’s complaints and New Jersey counterclaims.   It is extremely important that you prepare your answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit very carefully and make sure that you include in the answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit a detailed list of all defenses against the home contractor’s complaint or counterclaim that you are responding to, since failure to do so could cause you to lose   your New Jersey contractor lawsuit.  Accordingly, when you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor, you should seriously consider hiring a New Jersey home improvement fraud attorney to prepare your response to the home contractor’s complaint or counterclaim, to prepare written requests for information to the home contractor and if you can afford it, to have a New Jersey home improvment fraud attorney represent you in Court.  After your answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit is prepared, you must file it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where the home contractor’s complaint was filed – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file your answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit that is determined based on the amount of the original dispute and the type of Trial you want and whether you intend to add parties to the lawsuit (discussed below).   Only persons age 18 or older are able to file an answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit for themselves (minors must file an answer to the New Jersey home improvement contractor lawsuit through their parent or guardian).   If you are not represented by an attorney in a civil case, you are called a “pro se litigant”.


WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR COUNTERCLAIM?
Many people ask what a New Jersey home improvement contractor counterclaim is.   If you sue a contractor to recover money you paid them or for some other reason, they could file a countersuit against you called a New Jersey home improvement contractor counterclaim.  If they do this, you must file an answer to the counterclaim or face a default and default judgment (discussed below).


WHY DEFEND AGAINST NEW JERSEY HOME A CONTRACTOR LAWSUIT?
If you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor, don’t just ignore a New Jersey home contractor lawsuit or New Jersey home improvement contractor counterclaim – properly respond to it!   Sometimes this requires you to file the proper Answer.   If you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor and you do not defend against a New Jersey home improvement contract lawsuit, the home contractor may win a Money judgment against you and this could negatively affect your credit.  If you ignore a New Jersey home improvement judgment, your bank account may be frozen and money in it turned over to the home contractor or other person or business holding the home contractor’s judgment, some of your wages may be taken from you, your personal property may be seized by the sheriff and sold to satisfy the home contractor’s judgment and/or a lien may be put against a house you own.  Often Homeowners wait until their bank account is frozen or until their wages are attached to take action – at that point it is difficult and sometimes too late to do anything to successfully stop the home contractor’s collection efforts.  It is not uncommon for Courts to refuse to help such latecomers from taking issue with the home contractor’s collection efforts unless they file papers with the Court for relief.   


HOW CAN I WIN A NEW JERSEY HOME CONTRACTOR LAWSUIT? 
If you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor and the New Jersey home improvement contract violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act or the New Jersey Home Improvement Practices Regulations or the New Jersey Contractors’ Registration Act, the New Jersey home improvement contract may be partly unenforceable or totally unenforceable and therefore, the home contractor may be prevented from collecting some or even all of the unpaid New Jersey home improvement contract bill.   If the home contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the home contractor may face a judgment requiring the home contractor to pay the Homeowner’s attorney’s fees and court costs.   The following are examples of New Jersey home contractor lawsuits where Home improvement contractors failed to collect on their New Jersey home improvement contracts because they committed New Jersey consumer fraud violations:
An unlicensed landscape irrigation contractor sued a Homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home improvement contract bill for a sprinkling system and the Homeowner countersued the home contractor, alleging that the contract was not enforceable because the home contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. 
An owner of a cleaning and restoration franchise specializing in mitigating damage following a fire or flood filed a New Jersey collection lawsuit against Homeowners and they countersued the home contractor.  The Court found that the home contractor caused the dispute and therefore that the home contractor was not allowed to collect the unpaid home improvement bill.
A contractor sued a Homeowner to collect an unpaid bill.   But because the home contractor failed to display its Home improvement contractor registration number on the New Jersey home improvement contract, on most invoices and change orders, failed to display the Division of Consumer Affairs’ toll-free number on its documents and failed to put every change order in writing, the bill was uncollectible.
A contractor sued a Homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home improvement contract bill and the Homeowner countersued the home contractor because the work was shoddy.  Thereafter, the Court found that not only was the home contractor’s work shoddy but that the home contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.   The home contractor was prevented from recovering the unpaid bill. 


WHAT PENALTIES DO HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS FACE IF THEY COMMIT NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD VIOLATIONS?
If you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor and the home contractor violates the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act or the New Jersey Home Improvement Practices regulations or the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, Contractor fraud victims may be entitled to the following relief:
Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
Treble damages for ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation or defending against lawsuits by contractors to collect a fraudulent debt.
Refund of money lost due to the contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.


SHOULD I TRY TO ANSWER THE HOME CONTRACTOR COMPLAINT BY MYSELF?
If you are sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor, answering Home improvement contractor complaint without the assistance of a New Jersey home improvment fraud attorney could seriously affect your Home improvement contractor case defense.  What you say in your answer to a New Jersey home contractor lawsuit may be used against you.  Also, failure to answer each allegation in a New Jersey home contractor lawsuit properly may result in claims being considered proven against you.  Also, if you fail to raise each and every Home improvement contractor case defense in your answer to the home contractor complaint, you may give up the right to argue those Home improvement contractor case defenses at your Home improvement contractor trial.


WHAT HAPPENS IF A NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR LAWSUIT DEFENDANT IS DEFAULTED?
Were you sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor?  Ignoring a New Jersey home improvement contractor complaint can have serious consequences!   Don’t let a default get entered against you – if you do, then no trial will occur (unless the Court vacates the default) and the contractor has a certain amount of time from the date of the entry of New Jersey default to file additional paperwork with the Court to seek a  default judgment against a homeowner.  In some cases, securing a default judgment only requires the contractor to submit paperwork to the Court without holding any Court hearings in which the homeowner is able to contest the contractor’s bill.   If you ignore a New Jersey home improvement contractor complaint be prepared to have your bank accounts frozen and to be unable to withdraw money from your account, to have a lien filed against your home or other real estate and to have your wages garnished! 


AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT FRAUD LAWYER
Were you sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor?  Disputes involving home renovations are commonplace today.   Don’t be another victim of contractor fraud or a contractor’s failure to honor promises to you.   Did your home improvement project turn into a nightmare?  Does your home improvement contract or home repair contract look like it doesn’t comply with the law?  Let an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud lawyer review your home improvement contract to see if it complies with the law and if not, to tell you what you can do about it.   Is your home renovation incomplete but your contractor is asking for the final payment?   Did your contractor fail to get permits for your home renovation?  Are you dissatisfied with the work that a contractor or home repair contractor performed at your business?  Did a contractor or home repair contractor charge you for work without first getting you to sign a contract or a change order?   Did you pay a contractor a deposit and they never returned to complete your home improvement job?  Let an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud lawyer review the facts of your dispute and give you sound advice on your options under the law.  Why guess about your legal rights when you can have an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud lawyer explain the law about home improvements and your rights.  Did a contractor get you to sign a fraudulent contract?   The contractor can’t dictate all the contents of a renovation contract.  Instead, a home improvement contract must contain certain mandatory disclosures about prices and the materials to be used in the home repair job.  Let an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud lawyer tell you about the legal requirements for home improvement contracts.   Did a contractor overcharge you for work at your home?  Did a contractor or bill you for materials or supplies that they never delivered to the job site?   The law requires mandatory disclosures about materials to be used during a home renovation project.   Did you receive substandard work from a contractor?  Did a contractor perform work that proved defective?  Did a home repair contractor perform work for you without giving you a warranty for the work or a guarantee for the work?  The law requires mandatory disclosures about warranties and guarantees in home improvement contracts.  Why settle for wondering what your rights are when a no obligation legal consultation is a phone call away?   Did a New Jersey home improvement contractor lie to you about their services?  Did a New Jersey home improvement contractor commit consumer fraud against you?   Let an experienced New Jersey Home improvement fraud lawyer help you with your contractor dispute.  Did a handyman fail to honor a warranty that they issued you?  Did a contractor charge you for defective work?    Is a handyman failing to return your calls about problems with their work or problems with their bill?    Did a home repair contractor improperly put a mechanic’s lien on your home?   Don’t ignore a New Jersey home improvement contractor complaint!   Let an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud lawyer help you with your home renovation lawsuit or dispute.  Paul DePetris has handled many home repair fraud cases, defending and prosecuting such disputes and lawsuits for homeowners.  Paul DePetris is also a published legal author on the subject.   Use the services of an experienced New Jersey Home improvement fraud attorney to help you sort out your rights and to take the next step in your dispute.  




AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT FRAUD ATTORNEY FOR HANDLING NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR LAWSUITS AND DISPUTES FOR BOTH INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES
Were you sued by a New Jersey home improvement contractor?   Let an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud attorney represent you or your business in your New Jersey contractor lawsuit.   Paul DePetris has represented consumers, home buyers, home sellers, home repair customers, home repair contractors, home inspectors, real estate brokers, real estate agents, junk yard dealers, automobile purchasers and owners, new and used car dealers, banks and automotive lenders, boat purchasers and owners, watercraft purchasers and owners and marinas in consumer fraud lawsuits and other consumer lawsuits and consumer disputes.  Mr. DePetris appeared in court in lawsuits involving consumer fraud lawsuits and other types of consumer lawsuits. As an experienced New Jersey home improvement fraud lawyer, Mr. DePetris has mediated, arbitrated and tried consumer fraud lawsuits and other types of consumer lawsuits.  In addition to representing consumers in a variety of consumer lawsuits and defending businesses in a variety of consumer lawsuits, Paul DePetris provides consulting services to law firms handing consumer lawsuits and defending consumer lawsuits.  Paul DePetris has represented the persons and businesses in New Jersey contractor lawsuits.  Mr. DePetris has also taught hundreds of lawyers and nonlawyers about consumer law in consumer fraud classes.  Mr. DePetris is also the author of the following publications about consumer fraud:  New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act & Forms (New Jersey Law Journal Books); Learned Professionals, Licensed Semiprofessionals and the Consumer Fraud Act:  The Origins of the Licensed Professionals’ Doctrine (New Jersey Lawyer, Oct. 2008); Liability For Consumer Fraud In Real Estate Transactions (New Jersey Law Journal, March 18, 2009).   Don’t ignore a New Jersey home improvement contractor complaint!  Don’t give up your rights or take a chance in ruining your case!  Let an experienced New Jersey Home improvement fraud lawyer help you understand your rights under the law.   


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