Can you sue a contractor because you can’t use your home?

Well, sure, you can sue for anything. The real question is can you win the lawsuit? What your chances are of winning will really depend on your individual case, and your attorney will be able to assist you in determining, overall, the merits of your lawsuit. Recent case law, however, can serve as a guideline in how you argue your case.

In Meyer v. Chicago Mechanical Services, Inc., (2010 Ill. App. LEXIS 203, 2nd District), the owner of a condominium hired the defendant to install an air conditioner in her unit. After mold accumulated in her unit, the condominium owner had to move out while repairs were made. The person living underneath her unit had to move out also. The two condominium owners sued the company that installed the air conditioner for damages based on the inconveniences associated with having to move out of their homes.

However, they lost the case — not because the court felt that they had not suffered any inconvenience, but because of the way the plaintiffs framed their case. The court thought that the plaintiff’s case should have focused on actual concrete damages, rather than on how sentimentally attached they were to their homes. For example, the court did not agree that the plaintiffs should get damages based on the fact that they did not get to sleep in their own beds.

In other words, the court was looking for something concrete, not something abstract. If you ever end up suing your contractor, make sure you keep that in mind!