William Shelton’s carpet business

When William Shelton’s carpet business was swept away due to a fire, he got a first-hand, crash course in restoring the building to its original state. His friends and family could not believe how beautiful it was once it was done, and through their encouragement, William got into the restoration business. His son, Lee Shelton, came alongside him, and at the age of 16, Lee learned everything from his father about clean up, including water and flood damage, fire damage, earthquake damage, and the like. Lee soon took over his dad’s business, and his reputation proceeded him in the community of Davis, California.
On April 4, Mr. Lee Shelton received a phone call from a woman in Waitsburg Washington requesting his services. She introduced herself as Mrs. Kim Hawkins. She told Mr. Shelton that she had recently been an unwitting victim of flooding in the basement of her home, as a levee on the Touchet River broke just outside of her small town. Her basement was a second living space that had been converted in 2015. She has friends and family in Davis California, and although it is a distance, Mr. Shelton was highly praised and recommended to Mrs. Hawkins. (Since Mrs. Hawkins is well-to-do, and lives in an awfully expensive home, she considered their endorsement, and called Mr. Shelton.) In the conversation between Mr. Shelton and Mrs. Hawkins, they agreed upon the date of April 10th to start the work of restoration of the basement. Mr. Shelton holds that he did discuss his fee with her, and the cost of the overall trip. Since it was a 12-hour drive from Davis to Waitsburg, Mr. Shelton holds that it was discussed in the conversation that Mr. Shelton would drive up from his home on the evening of April 8th, and start work on April 10th to:
• Remove damaged components: Any unsafe components that are not able to be restored are removed from the home.
• Removing flooring: To prevent the collection of rot, mold, and other harmful elements and remove any floor coverings that could promote an unhealthy or unsafe environment.
• Evaluating structural framing: Such as framing and subfloor material, and either remove or bring them up to safety standards.
• Treating for odor and contamination: with odor counteractants that ensure no microbial contamination or mildew is present.
• Removing or restoring the HVAC system: To ensure no harmful particles will spread throughout the air and cause future health problems.
o https://www.restoration1.com/our-services/fire-smoke-damage/ (Links to an external site.)
• Install the carpet pad and new carpet and rebuilding any structural area due to water damage.
Mr. Shelton discussed the above listing with Mrs. Hawkins in detail and took down the measurements of the basement. Mrs. Hawkins also sent photos of the damage and requested that Mr. Shelton purchase carpeting and padding that would replace the damaged flooring. All these particulars were discussed over the phone before the conversation ends. Mr. Shelton holds that he emphasized the fact that because this was a water damage situation, the entire area would have to be treated and water damage to the structure would need to be repaired or removed if necessary, and that was included in the overall estimated cost of the restoration, which is why the work would be very expensive. However, only a verbal agreement was struck between Mr. Shelton and Mrs. Kim Hawkins.

On April 5, Mr. Shelton purchased the following items from the following stores:


 600 sp. ft. basement padding @ $1,400 ((Carpet All-In-One)
 600 sq. ft. basement (new) carpet @ $2,400. (Carpet All-In-One)
 3 Gallons of Odorize 210 Concentrate, Fresh Scent @ 78.25 each plus tax (7.25) = $95.26 (Lowes)
 4 Boxes – Grip-Rite 1-lb-Gauge 1.25-in Bright Steel Underlayment Nails (Links to an external site.) @ $4.98 each = $19.92 (Lowes)

On April 8th, at 10:00 pm after work that day, Mr. Shelton pulled his truck out of his driveway with all his personal installation equipment and the materials he had purchased for the job and headed for Waitsburg, Washington.
On April 9th, at 10:30 pm, the night before the appointment, Mrs. Hawkins called Mr. Shelton on his iPhone and canceled the job. Mr. Shelton had already driven the 772 miles to Waitsburg, Washington, and had paid for his hotel for the week, which was non-refundable, given the timeframe of the reservation was past the grace period for cancellation by the hotel. Mr. Shelton lost a total of $3,500 in lost revenue, travel/gas, food, and hotel expenses, (to include the hotel and food expenses from April 9th), plus $3,915.18 in material purchases, for a total of $7415.18.
Mrs. Hawkins has denied that in fact there was any verbal agreement between them, and will not return Mr. Shelton’s phone calls in order to come to some type of resolution. Mr. Shelton now wants to take Mrs. Hawkins to small claims court but is unsure as to which court he should make the claim, given that Mrs. Hawkins lives in Waitsburg, Washington, he is unsure of the jurisdiction laws. There are also other considerations as well and he is unsure as to what to do at this point.

  1. Given the circumstances of this case, and based on your research below, which state should have jurisdiction over this verbal agreement, Washington, or California? Explain your answer in detail.
  2. Because this was a verbal agreement between Mr. Shelton and Ms. Hawkins, Mr. Shelton will need to prove his case. Make a list of the evidence that Mr. Shelton needs to bring with him to small claims court to establish his case and explain why each piece of evidence listed is relevant to proving the case. (Please bullet them and provide an explanation next to each item.)
  3. If you were advising Mr. Shelton as to how to present himself and this case before a judge, what four major “pieces of advice” would you give to him (based on the Chapter 6 PowerPoints, Chapter 4 Dispute Resolution of our textbook on Small Claims Court, and the Courtroom Etiquette document under Chapter 6 module and listed below). Make a list of the four points with an explanation besides each as to why you feel those would be the most important things for him to know. (This would include behavior and etiquette in the courtroom.)
  4. Mr. Shelton has now filed a claim in small claims court asking for the reimbursement for money he spent in anticipation of a service that he was not able to perform due to the cancelation by Mrs. Hawkins. As a judge, in this case, based on the facts presented, at what time did the job commence? Explain your answer in detail giving an accurate account of his actions and why each might be appropriate in establishing when the job actually commenced. Use bullets or time-lines. Note: This is always important for courts to establish the time of commencement.
  5. Does Mrs. Hawkins owe Mr. Shelton the $7415.18 lost in day wages, travel food, and material expenses? Explain your answer. Make a list of expenses that could possibly be mitigated and a list of purchased items that could be returned. Show that list in your answer to this question. As a judge, do you find that this brings down the award, if any? By how much?
  6. Now, based on the evidence presented by Mr. Shelton, and all the facts presented in this case, do you find in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant? Explain and back up your answer.
  7. Shelton needs to develop a contract that uses a cancelation clause. Based on your research below, write a cancelation clause that could be included in a written contract for Mr. Shelton to use with his customers.


Jurisdiction and Choice of Law:
Choice of Law and Legal Definition
https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/choice-of-law/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Choice of Law Provisions in Contracts
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/choice-of-law-provisions-contracts-33357.html (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Washington State Court – Small Claims
http://www.courts.wa.gov/newsinfo/resources/?fa=newsinfo_jury.scc&altMenu=smal (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/files/C9D2EA3F-0350-D9AF-ACAE-BF37E9BC9FFA/attachments/39285D5E-B302-1D9D-41E3-E3BF638D39B7/9940en.pdf (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
When Are Oral Contracts Enforceable in Washington?
https://www.sbwllp.com/when-are-oral-contracts-enforceable-in-washington/ (Links to an external site.)
California Courts – Self Help Small Claims
http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Find the Right Court to File Your Claim
http://www.courts.ca.gov/9745.htm (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Small Claims Advisors –By State
http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-advisors.htm (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Preparation for the Court:
Preparing for a Small Claims Court Case: What and Who to Bring With You to Small Claims Court
https://www.thebalance.com/preparing-for-a-small-claims-court-case-398538?utm_term=small+claims+court+oregon&utm_content=p1-main-1-title&utm_medium=sem&utm_source=gemini_s&utm_campaign=adid-b90bbafd-9d6b-48fa-8c7c-70600406ed92-0-ab_tsb_ocode-34406&ad=semD&an=gemini_s&am=broad&q=small+claims+court+oregon&o=34406&qsrc=999&l=sem&askid=b90bbafd-9d6b-48fa-8c7c-70600406ed92-0-ab_tsb (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Courtroom Etiquette.pdf Download Courtroom Etiquette.pdf

“Mitigation” Defined:
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/mitigate (Links to an external site.)

**The Contract: Potential Issues and Sample Clauses
http://www.lsuc.on.ca/For-Lawyers/About-Your-Licence/Audits-and-Reviews/The-Contract–Potential-Issues-and-Sample-Clauses/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
A cancelation clause
http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/termination-contract-clause-12709.html (Links to an external site.)

Sample Solution