Can I get sued for contacting clients of someone who owes me money and doesn’t want to pay?

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Can I get sued for contacting clients of someone who owes me money and doesn’t want to pay?

I made a website for a band. However, the one who contacted me and paid me 50% of the money was their producer. The website is done so I contacted the producer to get my other 50% of the money and he has 3 weeks telling me hes going to pay me but never does. He ignores my calls and barely answers my emails. I told him that’s I do not get pay soon I will contact the band for whom I made the website and will blog about what he did to me. He then replied telling me that he will make my life miserable if I do that and that he would call his credit card company to retract the first 50% of the money.

Asked on November 17, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Was the contract with the producer in writing or verbal?  Just so you know contracts can be either (except under certain circumstances they MUST be in writing to be valid)  it just may be a bit more difficult to enforce the terms when they aren't written down.  Now, the band is what can be termed a "third-party beneficiary" to the contract and the producer is their "agent" for the purposes of contracting the agreement and arguably able to "bind" them here. While I think it would be fine to contact them, I would NOT threaten to blog about this. You would be taking it to a whole different level.  Write the producer a letter using the buzz words stated above.  If it does not get you the rest of the payment then take him to court and name the band as well.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is probably a very bad idea. First, there is a cause of action for tortious (or wrongful) interference with contracts or business relationships; even if you feel justified, doing things which intimidate clients or potential customers from doing business can potentially lead to a law suit. Second, if anything you say is a factual assertion which is not 100% accurate (e.g. it's an exageration), you may be liable for defamation--and even if truthful, so you'd have a defense, you could still end up being sued and having to defend yourself. Third, while this may make you feel better, it's not actually likely to get yo the money.

Instead, if you had an agreement, including an oral one (though written ones are much better for obvious reasons), you can sue to enforce it. If you weren't paid what you were supposed to, you can take the producer to court--small claims for a smaller amount, superior or municipal court for a larger one. Instead of blogging and harassing, sue for what is rightfully yours.


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