1

Similar questions have been answered here before but my case is a bit different, hence opening up a new question.

  1. Client from Sweden sent me a contract stating it is governed by US laws. I am in India but I never signed and sent it back to him.
  2. We do have a NDA signed between us.

I am working with him for about 8 months. In last 3 months, most of his developers have quit and a framework we decided to try for project failed and that costed us 1 month. Even before using framework, I had well explained over chats that I do not have any experience with this framework and even I am not sure if this will solve our problem.

In last 1 month, over email mail I committed 40 hours/week but due to some reasons I failed to put that up that for 2 weeks and then got back to usual decided schedule.

All this time his requirements kept changing, new features kept adding up and previous ones kept getting modified. This is taking time to complete the project.

Now client wants to sue me for the delay in project that happened because of Framework we decided to try and failed. Also he wants to sue me for not working for 40hours/week in those 2 weeks.

My question is, does he stands a legal ground?

Our relations have really soured now and I want to move on. Shall I request him for money or how should I move ahead given amount is a hefty sum.

Thanks in Advance.

3

First of all, nobody here will be able to answer your questions. We don't know the exact details, we don't know what was agreed to and we're only getting one side of the story.

From reading what you wrote, my immediate questions are:

  1. If you didn't have the experience, why did you take the job?
  2. Why did you not fulfill your obligations in regard to 40/hrs per week?
  3. What does "failed" mean? I'm sure it can be fixed, right?

Bottom line. He probably can't sue you if you're in a different country. If he tried, it would probably cost more than it's worth.

Always remember, the law isn't everything. You need to be ethical too.

  • Hi, thanks for taking time to reply. About your questions, 1. I was hired for a different task and doing that well since I got onboard. Failed task was just an experiment he wanted me to work on and hence do certain things in a better and faster way. 2. I was not able to work because I had an accident(medical records I have) and was taking therapy. 3. In this case, failed does mean it is not possible to do it in the way we wanted to do it. I have worked with him for last 8 months but never a problem happened, he has started behaving strange since this task did not work as expected. – Gaurav Aug 8 '14 at 22:52
  • 1
    @Gaurav 1) You should not have taken work in the field you're not expert in. You first and biggest mistake. It seems to us you wanted extra money cause you're left out of work in the main field. Never do this. 2) Send him these medical records and tell him that you will work all remaining hours in new time period. Obviously, it was not your fault. Did you inform him of the accident or left him hanging all time you were out of work? 3) When team starts breaking and invested money go to nothing, it's obvious that investors are angry and nervous. Be part of a team and offer for a solution. – Peter MV Aug 9 '14 at 6:04
  • Hi Peter, It was never that I was out of work. Midway in the project, he just asked me to try if I can do that and I clearly told, I am not the best guy as I have never done it. He told, he prefers me doing and failing compared to getting another guy on board and hence I tried. Post this after 3 days of trying, I told him I do not think it is possible to do what he wants to do, and if he wants to cross check, he should get an expert from the field. He got one and paid heavily to him. But guy failed to do as well. 2) He was well informed about my accident and was okay back then. – Gaurav Aug 9 '14 at 8:10
  • @PeterMV I am already offering him solution and suggesting, I get product launched and then part ways. But he is holding my money as a threat so I keep working for him is unacceptable to me. Money he holds is a big sum and lies in range of 5 figures USD. – Gaurav Aug 9 '14 at 8:13
  • @Gaurav Is it in any escrow? If not, then you're on a thin ice. I just don't get how come you got to 5 figures without getting paid any escrow. I would never agree to a milestone larger then a couple of thousands. Since this happened, if you want to get your money, then only solution is to keep working. Maybe not full time, but half-time, and use the rest hours to do side jobs. When you sense that he not so angry any more, suggest project analysis. Tell him that you would like to get paid for the parts you finished because that is the only path to finalize the project and keep you motivated. – Peter MV Aug 9 '14 at 8:19
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My observation:

"Now client wants to sue me for the delay in project that happened because of Framework we decided to try and failed."

The client was paying for your time, NOT a finished product. You made a reasonable effort to apply your time to meet the client's requirements, but in the end found the task impossible. The client got what he paid for -- the use of your time.

"Also he wants to sue me for not working for 40hours/week in those 2 weeks."

In any U.S. venue, the client would have to prove actual damages caused by you not working those two weeks. When such information is presented to a court, it has to make some sense. It can't just be some made-up amount.

"Shall I request him for money or how should I move ahead given amount is a hefty sum."

You should stop working now and ask for payment for your work so far before you do ANY more work!!! I don't think this client is going to pay you in the end, if the client is already threatening to sue. You'd better be very careful. Those other developers quit for a reason.

  • Thanks for pointers. As for #2 He is willing to sue me for server cost that he ended up paying for those 2 weeks when I was not working. As of now, we have reached to a settlement with he paying me half money and rest in escrow unless task is completed. Which I am supposedly going to wind up by end of week. – Gaurav Aug 13 '14 at 7:08

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