Design Duo vs Ira and Irene – Case

The plaintiffs “Design Duo” specialize in design and construction renovations for NYC co-op and condo apartment owners.

Design Duo now claims that the defendants “Ira and Irene” owe them for preparing plans for a renovation of their recently purchased NYC condo.

Ira and Irene have signed a contract with Design Duo to prepare plans for renovation and construction of their condo for a total fee of $8,000, with the first payment of 50% ($4,000) due on signing.

That first payment was not paid; however, Ira urged Design Duo to proceed at once to draw up initial plans, as he and Irene “were in a hurry”.

Ira and Irene did not like Design Duo’s initial plans. They said they were “too fussy”. Ira then asked them to make some specific changes. Design Duo said that they were reluctant to undertake new plans without getting the sum due them on signing, and they decided to sue for their money in Small Claims.

Ira said that Design Duo should prove what their expenses actually were in preparing the rejected plans. Design Duo said they could do so if the case was adjourned to a later date for that purpose.

You decide.

To see my decision, click on the link below. Decisions.


10 thoughts on “Design Duo vs Ira and Irene – Case

  1. Adding an afterthought. You’ll see how fast they pay the agreed settlement of $2,500. Suddenly they “won’t” be in such a “hurry”. Their checkbook will be available for writing “this” check before the 10 day cutoff, avoiding having to pay the $4,000 which in my opinion should have been awarded to Design Duo.

  2. The Design Duo should have been paid the full first payment of $4,000.
    The down payment was due before he started preparing the plans. He was correct not to proceed with any changes.
    I have a few questions: Why does the design duo have to prove his expenses? the down payment was for the preparing the plans. were expenses mentioned in the contract?
    Why are you so concerned about Ira & Irene’s credit score? that’s not part of the case. If they were as worried as you are, they would have paid the down payment of $4,000 as agreed in the signed contract and wouldn’t be sitting before you.
    What a ploy- their in a “hurry”. Design Duo should have told Ira, I’m in a hurry also for my first contractual payment and there will be no pen to paper without it.

    • Design Duo’s expenses would be relevant only in computing damages. The case was settled, making that irrelevant. None of Design Duo’s expenses were mentioned in the contract.

      In practical terms, a settlement is better than a court award which can unnecessarily hurt them. It’s part of doing the right thing, in my opinion.

  3. I feel the Design Duo is due full payment. An agreement was signed and being they were in a “hurry” Ira & Irene never paid the down payment that was agreed upon in the initial signing so Design Duo was right not to proceed with any changes..
    Next time they should not be in such “A HURRY” and read the agreement they both signed and abide by it.

    • Design Duo was right not to proceed with changes. Instead of suing, both parties should have explored their differences.

  4. The design company should be paid the $4,000, since that was the initial deal. As they proceed, if they proceed, then future explicit terms should be spelled out.

  5. Arbitration Man…

    Your case, as presented, does not indicate that Ira & Irene had to approve of the design before payment; however, your decision refers to this clause…

    I stand by my decision!!!

    • Contracts for designs are legally understood to require reasonable approval of the client. This is based on the principle that if the plans are not approved they have no value.

  6. Unless I am missing a key piece of information, Design Duo is due full payment for its work. A contract was executed…

    Aside: there are far too many Ira and Irene’s out there….

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