I would encourage B.M. to sue the contractor even if the contractor has nothing to his name right now. There is a statute of limitations and after the specified time elapses without filing a suit, B.M. is guaranteed to never collect a dime. Sue and get a judgment and then covertly monitor the guy every year or two for indications that he might have improved financially. Very few peoples’ financial situations remain the same forever and most improve to one degree or another. You never know what could happen. State laws vary widely so it is impossible for me to know what types of seizures or collection activity is permitted in B.M.’s state. In my state, if I had a judgment against a contractor and I knew he was working on a big job, I could swoop in at the last minute and force his customer to pay ME instead of him. This is one of many, many ways to collect on a judgment but again, it depends on state law. One thing is certain: If B.M. lets the deadline pass without filing suit then the contractor could win a million bucks in the lottery and there would be literally nothing B.M. could do to get his money back. – M.R.
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