Nick worked as a maintenance supervisor for Southern Medical Supplies for 20 years before being laid off after a merger. Since Nick was licensed as an electrical and air conditioning contractor in Florida, he decided to start a little handyman business. With a downturn in the economy, Nick discovered that people repaired things instead of replacing them, so his services were always in demand, especially in the summer months. Mike started working with his father (Nick) while he studied project management in college. By the time Mike graduated from college, the handyman business employed three additional full-time workers and picked up a few day laborers as needed.
Nick and Mike were carrying a large air handler into a customer’s house when the homeowner’s dog jumped up on Nick, causing him to fall and drop his end of the air handler. Unable to control the air handler, Mike dropped his end and it went crashing into the homeowner’s new $16,000, 65” Toshiba Smart – 3D television. Nick suffered a back injury and was unable to work for two months.
The handyman business owns two work trucks and three vans, each registered to the business. The company name, N & M Air and Electrical Contractors; phone number; and website appear on each vehicle. Bernie, one of the full-time employees, drives one of the vans home at night in case he needs to take care of an emergency repair. One night Bernie stopped off at Big John’s Pub to have a couple of beers with the guys before going home. On the way home, Bernie ran a stop sign and hit Esther Smith. Ester’s car sustained $4,500 in damages and she missed two weeks of work recovering from her injuries. Bernie suffered minor injuries and was arrested for DUI.
Small Business Bank (SBB) loaned $25,000 to the handyman business. Mike and Nick agreed to be personally liable for the loan along with Mike’s friend Doug who agreed to be one of the co-sureties for the loan. The handyman business defaulted on the loan and SBB plans to sue Doug for full payment of the loan.
The business agreed to install two new air conditioning units in a 4,000 sq. ft., two-story home. Nick and the homeowner agreed to a price of $8,500 for the purchase and installation of the units. Because the homeowner’s wife was still looking for work after being laid off, Nick agreed to let the homeowner pay for the units in installments of $1,500 a month. Two months later, the homeowner filed for bankruptcy. Nick demanded payment for the balance due and threatened to repossess both air conditioning units.
Lanh Phuong was born in Vietnam in 1972 and recently became a US citizen. Lanh speaks fluent English with a strong and noticeable Vietnamese accent. Lanh’s accent does not interfere with her ability to communicate with others. Lanh applied for a job with the handyman business; however, she was not hired for the position.