Can I sue a landscaping company for damages and emotional distress?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue a landscaping company for damages and emotional distress?

About 4 months ago, we hired a landscaping company to do regrading, cutting down trees, clearing out brush and debris, and seeding a new lawn. The contractor has left all of the debris claiming our contract wasn’t clear enough on removing it when we stated it had to be removed from the property. He had said he could remove any tree under 12 inches but later said he could only take under 9 inches. This was in the contract as well. He has also kept putting off coming back to finish the job. Saying he will and then not showing up. We decided to fire him and look for another company to finish the job. We have already paid him $2000. At this point clearing out the debris he left behind would cost us somewhere between $2,000-$5,000. My wife has been stressed to the max with everything that’s been going on. All we want is our money back but I’m also wondering what our options might be.

Asked on June 14, 2016 under Business Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is NO compensation for emotional distress in breach of contract cases (or, indeed, even in most tort, like accident or criminal act, cases). If you can prove the contractor did violate his agreement (preferably a written one, so you can more easily and definitively prove the existence and terms of the agreement), then you could potentially recover the costs (e.g. debris removal) he caused in court if you sue him. For the amount of money you describe, you may be best off suing in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") so as to save on legal costs (since in a case like this, you have to pay for your own lawyer--you can't make the other side pay for it).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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