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The Law on Contract modification

Some of the factual details of the case in which the attorneys at the Carr Law Firm, P.A. obtained a favorable jury verdict are as follows:  A General Contractor performed work on the defendant's home that was destroyed by the '04 hurricanes. The contract had a provision for written change orders. Throughout the job, each time the defendant requested that additional, updated work be performed, our client provided the defendant with updated invoices and job cost details and kept the defendant in the loop as to the updated job costs after changes were requested. Our client also provided emails to both the defendant and her sons and provided them with ways that she could save money by foregoing some of the updates.  Our client also allowed the defendant to hire her own subcontractors in an effort to save her money. One of the defenses was that the contract was not modified and the defendant denied owing those monies for the updated changes. The law on contract modifications is such that:

A contract in writing may be modified by a contract in writing, by a subsequent oral agreement between the parties, or by the parties' subsequent conduct, if the modified agreement has been accepted and acted upon by the parties in such a manner as would be unfair on either party to refuse to enforce it. 

An agreement can be modified by a subsequent verbal agreement or by the conduct of the parties even if the initial written agreement required all changes to be in writing. In other words, a party may waive, either orally or by conduct, a provision in a written contract that states all changes shall be authorized by a written change order signed by both the general contractor and homeowner. Conduct by the parties that constitutes a modification to the written contract includes the homeowner being aware of extra costs and not objecting.

The jury rightly found that the contract was modified and that the defendant owed our client the monies in full for the requested changes.  If you would like to find out what your rights and obligations are under a contract, please contact the Carr Law Firm, P.A.

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203 E. Livingston Street
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