I'm working on understanding some topics from contract law -- specifically about delegation (a type of contract assignment). Let's say the client bought a kit to build something and then realized he didn't have the tools or skills needed to put it together, so he hires A to build it for him. (Craftsmanship isn't an issue here.)

Now A delegates the job to B. B does the job and tries to deliver the finished object to the client, who gets in a snit because he wasn't told about the delegation (he didn't realize they didn't have to tell him). The client refuses to accept the delivery and doesn't pay.

Whom can B sue for nonpayment? I'm thinking both A and the client but I'm not sure.

If B does shoddy work, can the client sue B? (Obviously, the client can sue A, but I'm not sure if he can also sue B.)


B sues A

Under your scenario, the Client is a Principal and A is a Contractor under a Contract and A is the Principal and B is a (Sub)Contractor under a different (Sub)Contract.

Assuming that B has fulfilled all its obligations under the Subcontract with A then A owes them the agreed payment and B sues A for the liquidated debt if they don't pay. Whether A has fulfilled their obligations to the Client or has been paid by the Client is a matter of complete indifference to B.

If A has gone bankrupt or is otherwise unable to pay, then B has no claim on the Client.

Similarly, if the goods/service is defective, the Client only has a cause of action against A (who may or may not have a cause against B depending on if the defect is due to A or B).

  • Thank you. Did you see the next part, where B did shoddy work? – aparente001 Jan 14 '20 at 0:47
  • Also, can you help me understand why B can't also sue the client? By the way, I am in the US and I am assuming a common law contract (not UCC). (I don't know if that would make any difference.) – aparente001 Jan 14 '20 at 0:55
  • But now I have read Rose v. Vulcan Materials Co. 194 S.E.2d 521 (N.C. 1973) and I think that B can also sue the client. – aparente001 Jan 14 '20 at 5:25
  • @aparente001 why? The facts are completely different. B replaced A with Clients permission – Dale M Jan 14 '20 at 11:27

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