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Topic: ot: legal issues

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    St. John's NL
    Posts
    1,040

    ot: legal issues

    Greetings,
    I played a wedding gig this past weekend. My clients won't pay me because a cue was blown for the tune we were mainly hired to play. Despite the fact that NO ONE from the wedding party was around at all during the two hours I spent setting up to talk things over, this fault rests squarely on my shoulders.
    They say I didn't provide the agreed upon service, even though I found musicians, reheased for hours, showed up early and provided PA gear. Everything else went smoothly and the main tune was played as the B+G left the church, as an attempted save.
    In one strong sense, she's got me. In every other sense, I've been flatly ripped off.
    Anyone have experience here? Does it sound like it's worth my while to get a lawyer? The cost would exceed my potential winnings by far, but I'd like to do this on principle.

    Thanks,
    Belbin

  2. #2

    Re: ot: legal issues

    Quote Originally Posted by belbin
    Greetings,
    I played a wedding gig this past weekend. My clients won't pay me because a cue was blown for the tune we were mainly hired to play. Despite the fact that NO ONE from the wedding party was around at all during the two hours I spent setting up to talk things over, this fault rests squarely on my shoulders.
    They say I didn't provide the agreed upon service, even though I found musicians, reheased for hours, showed up early and provided PA gear. Everything else went smoothly and the main tune was played as the B+G left the church, as an attempted save.
    In one strong sense, she's got me. In every other sense, I've been flatly ripped off.
    Anyone have experience here? Does it sound like it's worth my while to get a lawyer? The cost would exceed my potential winnings by far, but I'd like to do this on principle.

    Thanks,
    Belbin
    Did you suggest a price reduction as a compromise?
    Composer, Logic Certified Trainer, Level 2,
    author of "Going Pro with Logic Pro 9."

    www.jayasher.com

  3. #3

    Re: ot: legal issues

    Quote Originally Posted by belbin
    Greetings,
    I played a wedding gig this past weekend. My clients won't pay me because a cue was blown for the tune we were mainly hired to play. Despite the fact that NO ONE from the wedding party was around at all during the two hours I spent setting up to talk things over, this fault rests squarely on my shoulders.
    They say I didn't provide the agreed upon service, even though I found musicians, reheased for hours, showed up early and provided PA gear. Everything else went smoothly and the main tune was played as the B+G left the church, as an attempted save.
    In one strong sense, she's got me. In every other sense, I've been flatly ripped off.
    Anyone have experience here? Does it sound like it's worth my while to get a lawyer? The cost would exceed my potential winnings by far, but I'd like to do this on principle.

    Thanks,
    Belbin
    Did you have a written agreement for the work to be performed?

    Rick

  4. #4

    Re: ot: legal issues

    Next time get a non-refundable advance, every wedding service provider requires one so why shouldn't you?

    You could take them to small claims if the amount is less than what your state allows for small claims.
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  5. #5

    Re: ot: legal issues

    Hi,

    I agree a little bit with Lee here that it could get sticky although I would, myself, suggest a compromise if they would be willing to give something.

    Incidentally, arguing that no one was around to speak with while you were setting up is not really a valid defence. You were hired ahead of time to perform this service. Knowing exactly when that cue was to be played was crucial since it was the main one. It would seem to me that, as the person hired, you would have been told by the B+G when each song would be performed throughout the ceremony. If this did not occur, it was still up to you to find out.

    I feel bad for you in this situation but personally don't think that you should hire a lawyer. Based on principle, and from the information that we have in your post, it seems to me that the B+G have a stronger leg to stand on than you do. About all that I would do is attempt get a portion of the payment by stating that you did provide some of the service that was agreed upon but, even then, if they refuse you may not be able to do a whole lot. Essentially, the main part of that service (which was the live music for their ceremony) got bunged up. If it were my wedding, I wouldn't pay you the full amount either although I'd probably give something.

    Best of luck,
    FV

    p.s. - like Kays stated, next time get a non-refundable deposit.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Dallas, Texas
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    5,755

    Re: ot: legal issues

    Quote Originally Posted by belbin
    Greetings,
    I played a wedding gig this past weekend. My clients won't pay me because a cue was blown for the tune we were mainly hired to play. Despite the fact that NO ONE from the wedding party was around at all during the two hours I spent setting up to talk things over, this fault rests squarely on my shoulders.
    They say I didn't provide the agreed upon service, even though I found musicians, reheased for hours, showed up early and provided PA gear. Everything else went smoothly and the main tune was played as the B+G left the church, as an attempted save.
    In one strong sense, she's got me. In every other sense, I've been flatly ripped off.
    Anyone have experience here? Does it sound like it's worth my while to get a lawyer? The cost would exceed my potential winnings by far, but I'd like to do this on principle.

    Thanks,
    Belbin
    Consider it a lesson learned. You should always get a deposit, and a signed contract, on wedding gigs. They're truly the worst when things go bad.

    That said, it's really unfortunate that you guys missed the cue. If you don't have what you need to make the gig work, you have to insist upon getting it.

    Perhaps you can get a partial payment when things settle down, and cooler heads prevail.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    St. John's NL
    Posts
    1,040

    Re: ot: legal issues

    Thanks, all. Good advice across the board.

    I have used contracts in the past, but lately have blown them off, as they take valuable time, and usually (in my neck of the woods) the honor system works fine. A needless formality for most of the private gigs I've done. Wouldn't you know that I'd get bit just as soon as I skipped this valuable step!
    I've spoken to the other musicians involved, and they've declined my offer to pay them myself, but they are both pretty adament about shaking these people up. Perhaps Lee wouldn't mind me passing his advice on to the others...it may make them think twice about taking action, as it did me.

    Thanks again,
    Belbin (King Idiot II)

  8. #8

    Re: ot: legal issues

    I don't know Newfoundland's laws, but in California, Small Claims Court applies to anything under $3,000 (as of many years ago.) No lawyers are allowed and it works pretty well. I've been in bands that sued over gigs on two occasions (our record is 1-1 ). Small Claims courts are designed for cases exactly like this.

    As Lee sez, there are some risks. But courts aren't likely to pile on a bunch of punitive or emotional distress damages for something like this. If it was a huge deal to them, then they should have double checked that you guys were in sync. I'm not saying you weren't at fault, but I don't think you're in much danger of this blowing up in your face.

    - Mike Greene

  9. #9

    Re: ot: legal issues

    My one time dealing with Small Claims (CA, I was just a sideman, so I wasn't present.)

    We lost - after playing 3.5 hours of a 4 hour party, we were told by police it was illegal to play music in Carmel (we were on the beach, major haul of gear over 150 years of soft sand, which of course, took months to totally clean from our equipment)

    The buyer refused to pay anything, because the contract stated four hours. Judge backed him up. Bandleader tried to get pro-rated, after all the buyer was quite aware of the no-music regs, but no dice.

    The one thing we were able to do was: the buyer was a restauranteur and known for his nose candy - someone in the band (not me, not the bandleader, never found out who) tipped the police and they found him in his office at midnight with two under-aged cuties and a pile of blow. He's out of business, don't think he actually did jail time-first offense, pillar of the community, etc. but he never hired another band...
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

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