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Parikh v. Edwards Electric LLC

A-5793-02T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

CONTRACTORS—When a contractor’s invoice described the work performed as having been for “all” areas, it was not unreasonable to interpret that to mean the invoice covered only “all” of the area where work was actually performed.

An apartment dweller used an unlicensed contractor to perform a significant amount of remodeling and rewiring in the apartment. The apartment dweller became aware of certain electrical problems and engaged an electrician to do some work. The work was done and the electrician’s invoice referenced only a few specific areas, but recited, “opened wall boxes for switches and outlets in all areas…” (emphasis added). Later, another electrician redid almost of the wiring in the apartment leaving the apartment dweller to argue that the electrician “provided improper repair work and that the reference ‘all areas’ in [the electrician’s] invoice meant the entire apartment.” There was no written contract. There was only an oral agreement “to perform those repairs recounted in the invoice.” The lower court found nothing to show that the electrician “had an obligation to repair all of the electrical faults in the apartment.” According to the Appellate Division, the lower court “implicitly determined that the reference to ‘all areas’ was to the areas where the electrician had worked.” The lower court also took note that the apartment dweller “failed to call an expert witness to establish whether the work performed was proper.” Accordingly, the lower court dismissed the apartment dweller’s complaint. The Appellate Division, upon review of the record, upheld the lower court’s findings and conclusions as being amply supported by the record.

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