Landscaping company denies it accepted contractual payment without finishing work

By Nicholas Malfitano | Feb 6, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia landscaping company has denied accusations that it accepted more than $20,000 for various tasks to be performed at a local townhome community and did not complete the work.

Kingsley Court, LLC of Demarest, N.J., first filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Oct. 10 versus Banicki Brothers Landscaping, Joshua J. Banicki, Jordan S. Banicki and Patrick Banicki, all of Philadelphia.

Kingsley Court is the developer of a Philadelphia townhome subdivision of the same name, and the defendants provided landscaping services to some of its homeowners, consisting of laying sod, cutting grass, excavation, erecting retaining walls and related services.

In September 2016, the parties entered into a contract for the defendants to provide a number of additional services at the plaintiff’s property, such as erecting two retaining walls, adjusting yard drains, fixing tire tracks and grading/leveling land – in exchange for the mutually agreed upon price of $19,800.

Per the original lawsuit, Banicki Brothers Landscaping demanded a $13,000 advance towards the work, which it received in two installments by Oct. 5, 2016. From Sept. 26, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017, very little of the contracted work was supposedly completed – a retaining wall was excavated incorrectly, left incomplete and on a separate occasion, the defendants allegedly damaged the waterproofing to a neighboring business, Stanley’s Hardware.

The suit states the defendants also accepted other payments in regards to the remaining work related to the retaining wall in late 2016 and early 2017, but ultimately never completed the work.

However, Banicki Brothers filed a formal response to the complaint on Jan. 18, which denied the allegations brought forward by Kingsley Court.

According to the response, Patrick Banicki had no ownership or equitable interest in the landscaping company, the initial deposit Kingsley Court paid was not only for services but also for the purchase of materials required to complete the work, the work permit associated with the project was the duty of the plaintiff to obtain and a “cut sheet” for the dimensions of one of the retaining walls to be constructed was inaccurate, leaving Banicki Brothers unable to complete the work.

“Answering defendants completed over 80 percent of the work in a good and workman like manner. In or around said dates as alleged, plaintiff, through Scott Lavin, advised answering defendants that the work was to be completed, but it was not paying to them the balance of the contracted work, i.e., $2,800. Once answering defendants were advised of this, and with no reasonable explanation as to why, answering defendants refused to complete the work, as plaintiff breached the agreement by its refusal to pay,” the complaint’s answer read.

The answer further alleged the plaintiff “concocted an amount of alleged damages with no specificity or support”, and an amount which “fails to itemize any damages whatsoever, fails to account for any set-off or credits for the work performed and fails to allege any remedial measures, subsequent work costs, or other claims of financial loss allegedly as a result of answering defendant’s actions.”

“To the contrary, plaintiff paid to answering defendants $17,000 of the $19,800 contract price. Answering defendants completed over 80 percent of the work when plaintiff advised them that he balance would not be paid. Plaintiff is seeking to be unjustly enriched despite its own breach of the agreement,” the response stated.

For counts of breach of contract, negligence and fraud, the plaintiff is seeking damages of $35,000, plus interest dating back from Sept. 26, 2016 to the present, plus punitive damages as the Court may determine in its discretion.

Defense counsel contends the plaintiff’s complaint fails to set forth a valid cause of action, the plaintiff is seeking to be unjustly enriched and not entitled to punitive damages, among other charges.

The plaintiff is represented by Joshua S. Ganz of Duffy North, in Hatboro.

The defendant is represented by Thomas P. Muldoon Jr. of Muldoon & Shields, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171000964

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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