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Question for anyone who went to court with an engine builder

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Old 10-30-2011, 02:44 AM
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Default Question for anyone who went to court with an engine builder

let me first say that i realize if judgement is in my favor, i probably will never get paid, but it's the point that i have the proof that he screwed me, and can tell locals not to use him and keep others from getting screwed. this builder is not anyone on here, but a local guy to my area.

i'm wondering what you are actually entitled to in a judgement. I am about to file suit and they want a dollar amount. i dont want to go after something i may not be entitled to, and look foolish.

long story short.....i had the builder refresh 2 running motors for me. he requested that i have them pulled, and bring him the motors intake to pan....which i did. he refreshed them over the winter and gave them back. I put all accessories on and had a certified merc marina inspect and install them back into the boat. one motor spun 2 rod bearings with 2 hours on the clock. I call the builder and he tells me to have it pulled and bring the motor back to him the same way...(intake to pan). i pay marine to pull, and i strip accessories and drop off. he takes his good ole time to tear it down, then after he does, finds 2 spun rod bearings, and he says it is my fault....i starved it for oil. i bring him oil cooler and all lines (that were new) and we pressure test them and find them good. he still says its not his fault. ok, whatever...put it back together so i dont loose an entire summer. he takes another month to fix it.

He charges me to fix the motor, i install accessories, and I pay the marina to reinstall the motor. I was down a total of 53 days.

I am filing judgement for

the cost of fixing the motor
the cost of the marina the pulled/installed the motor
the marina slip fee that i paid for that sat empty for 53 days.

question is, can i go after boat payments, insurance payments, and my labor for stripping, reinstalling accessories ? how would i base my hourly rate ?
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:43 AM
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being as yopu did some of the work yourself, figure out the hours and bill at half or 2/3rd of a shop rate, shop rates have add onns of overhead insurance and such. I think your approach is good. payments and such are going to be tricky, because you would have had to make them regardless of this situation, i think if you go after the additional amount you are out you may win.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:09 AM
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You need an attorney if you are suing at the county level. He will have one and he will tear you up. Sorry, JMO.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:42 AM
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You need an attorney if you are suing at the county level. He will have one and he will tear you up. Sorry, JMO.
I agree 100% these are questions you should be asking your attorney. also a good local attorney may have better ideas of how to help you collect when you do win a judgement good luck!
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:13 AM
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If he is a corp he will have to have a laywer..Here in nj if you take someone to small claims court you have to meadiate first and the judge says be happy with half..hahaha. good luck
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiPerf2000 View Post
let me first say that i realize if judgement is in my favor, i probably will never get paid, but it's the point that i have the proof that he screwed me, and can tell locals not to use him and keep others from getting screwed. this builder is not anyone on here, but a local guy to my area.

i'm wondering what you are actually entitled to in a judgement. I am about to file suit and they want a dollar amount. i dont want to go after something i may not be entitled to, and look foolish.

long story short.....i had the builder refresh 2 running motors for me. he requested that i have them pulled, and bring him the motors intake to pan....which i did. he refreshed them over the winter and gave them back. I put all accessories on and had a certified merc marina inspect and install them back into the boat. one motor spun 2 rod bearings with 2 hours on the clock. I call the builder and he tells me to have it pulled and bring the motor back to him the same way...(intake to pan). i pay marine to pull, and i strip accessories and drop off. he takes his good ole time to tear it down, then after he does, finds 2 spun rod bearings, and he says it is my fault....i starved it for oil. i bring him oil cooler and all lines (that were new) and we pressure test them and find them good. he still says its not his fault. ok, whatever...put it back together so i dont loose an entire summer. he takes another month to fix it.

He charges me to fix the motor, i install accessories, and I pay the marina to reinstall the motor. I was down a total of 53 days.

I am filing judgement for

the cost of fixing the motor
the cost of the marina the pulled/installed the motor
the marina slip fee that i paid for that sat empty for 53 days.

question is, can i go after boat payments, insurance payments, and my labor for stripping, reinstalling accessories ? how would i base my hourly rate ?
you want him to make your boat payment and your ins for the boat?ARE YOU SERIOUS? why dont you ask the judge to make him pay your house payment too.if you ask for to much,you will end up with nothing ,good luck prooving the builder did something wrong.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:47 AM
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What state (where do you live)? Maine? Massachusetts?

Where is the engine builders place of business located?

How much ($$$$) are you seeking?
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:32 PM
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Sorry about your troubles HiPerf, but you might be SOL, just as I am with a tire issue.
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff. All your motor guy has to say that there wasn't or might not been enough oil. You have to prove that there was. Saying and swearing up and down is not proof, even if you are 100% right. The only way you may "prove" it is having a vid taking while you filled it up with the right oil the right amount etc. with the vid done by an independent, notarized. etc. etc. As soon as you tinkered with the motor, he is off the hook. Try to work out something, because you have an uphill battle, plus he fixed it I guess. It sux. I'm out about 400K when a new tire blow 4 years ago. Flipped trailer, boat off on the highway, truck flipped, I had shoulder injury and surgery.
No lawyer or firm wants to take the case, since it is "easily defendable". I have a witness, all the docs, Carlisle tires have recalls, DOT issues, chit tires for sure, but all Carlisle have to say is could have been a nail in the tire. Tire is all over the highway disintegrated. I have a tough time "proving" defect, (While it is obvious) so I'm SOL for 400K. I have a week left to file, no lawyer.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:02 PM
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Most likely will be a waste of your time, emotions and money.

When there are multiple hands involved as in this case, it will be almost impossible to prove who was right or wrong.

Engine Builder will say installers didn't install correctly, you didn't have enough oil in it, etc, et,c.

When you have more than one source of accountability it is usually a no-win situation.

Had the engine builder removed the engine/accessories, did the build, then re-installed everything and did a test run...and then it spun the bearings you have a chance of a winning case....because you have a single source of responsibility.

Also since you let him fix it the second time and PAID him for it, that could be seen almost like agreeing that it was your fault, not his.

Next time this happens do not let it get repaired unless you have it in writing that it is a warranty repair and being fixed for free. By repairing the suspect damage and agreeing to pay for it you loose any evidence that could be used in your favor and as I said you sorta admit your own "quilt" IMHO.

In your situation the only people that will "win" are the lawyers on each side....and you will be out even more money, time, and aggravation.

As much as I hate to say it, I would move on and take it as a learning lesson.

Best of luck,

Dave
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78CIG24 View Post
Most likely will be a waste of your time, emotions and money.

When there are multiple hands involved as in this case, it will be almost impossible to prove who was right or wrong.

Engine Builder will say installers didn't install correctly, you didn't have enough oil in it, etc, et,c.

When you have more than one source of accountability it is usually a no-win situation.

Had the engine builder removed the engine/accessories, did the build, then re-installed everything and did a test run...and then it spun the bearings you have a chance of a winning case....because you have a single source of responsibility.

Also since you let him fix it the second time and PAID him for it, that could be seen almost like agreeing that it was your fault, not his.

Next time this happens do not let it get repaired unless you have it in writing that it is a warranty repair and being fixed for free. By repairing the suspect damage and agreeing to pay for it you loose any evidence that could be used in your favor and as I said you sorta admit your own "quilt" IMHO.

In your situation the only people that will "win" are the lawyers on each side....and you will be out even more money, time, and aggravation.

As much as I hate to say it, I would move on and take it as a learning lesson.

Best of luck,

Dave
I am not a lawyer, but I think the battle should have been fought at the time of repair. If he would not repair it at no charge, then you should have gotten it in writing or recorded a conversation that he refused to repair the engine. Then you should have taken the engine to another builder, gotten a written statement that it was due to a faulty rebuild, and not oil starvation. Then you could have sued him for damages.

Engine builders are in the same category as construction people as far as I am concerned - sleaze until proven otherwise (sorry, to anyone here in either category, but you have to admit...). Obviously, there are a few good ones, but you have to do a lot of work to find and verify them. Once you find a good one, stick with them, and don't over price shop.

Michael

Last edited by Michael1; 10-30-2011 at 01:29 PM.
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