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Michigan restaurant owner and builder dispute contract

Picketers are protesting outside of a newly opened Michigan eatery over unpaid wages, but the restaurant's owner contends that their complaints are misguided. While the protestors assert that the owner failed to pay them their wages for their work remodeling the restaurant, the owner says the issue at hand is a business contract between him and the protestors' employer.

The owner explained that he signed an agreement with a local contractor to remodel the site of his business. He explained that their business established a strict time frame for the completion of the project, with the contractor incurring a harsh fee for every late day. According to the owner, the contractor finished three months behind schedule, which he claims means the contractor actually owes him money.

The contractor acknowledged that he and the owner agreed the remodeling would be completed by September 30, but said that unanticipated issues necessitated an extension on the project. Although the contractor never submitted formal notice of the delay to the owner, he said the owner made it seem clear he understood that the builders would be late. The contractor asserts that the owner should have fired him and paid him only for the work he did rather than waiting until the project was done to inform the contractor that he did not intend to pay.

The contractor explained that he hopes the contract dispute can be settled outside of court, but said he will be forced to sue the restaurant owner if they cannot resolve the problem. According to the contract, any disputes pursuant to the contract "shall be decided by articulation in accordance with the construction industry arbitration rules."

Legal contracts are binding, so it is in the best interest of all parties to ensure that business contracts are specific regarding all details of a transaction, and that those specifics are followed to the tee. Any modifications to a binding contract should be agreed upon by both parties and in writing so there is no doubt or room for dispute.

Source: Ann Arbor, "Contract dispute leads to frustration for Kuroshio restaurant owner and protesting contractor," Ben Freed, March 24, 2013

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