What steps can I take to collect on a placement that I made?
Question Details: I run a recruitment business out of IN. About 5 months ago, I placed a Director of Nursing with a nursing home in WI. The pay terms with 30 business days after they start with the sum being $18,000. As of today, I've received only $2,000 of the due payment. The company has simply stated the 2K was of "good faith" and that they're having financial issues at the moment. Since then, they are reluctant to respond to e-mails and I've received no other payments. I will say this, the company did not sign the standard contract. However, we discussed the pay terms before hand and when I sent the resume over to the client, the contract was attached so they knew payment was due and what the terms were. There was no argument from them about this fact and after I sent them two invoices via e-mail, they never tried to argue the fact. So that, mixed with the fact I have the pay stub that says due total was $18,000 and they had paid the 2k and the fact my contact person directly states they are not trying to get out of paying me clearly indicates they knew that they would have to pay me for my services. Do I have a case to collect and how would I proceed with getting the remaining $16,000 when I'm out of state and can't really afford to drive to WI.
Yes, based on what you write, you appear to have a viable case: there was an agreement that they would pay you a certain sum for the placement; you performed as agreed; since you performed, they are not reciprocally and contractually required to perform their obliations, too, and pay you. The only way to collect is by suing (for "breach of contract," or violating their agreement). You can hire a local (WI) attorney to do most of the work for you; if the case does not settle, you would have to appear for trial, but if it does settle ahead of time, you'd likely not have to go to WI.
Bear in mind that even if you win, you can't collect if there is no money: if they are not lying but are in financial distress and become insolvent or go out of business, even if you sue and win, you might not receive compensation.