In construction, one of the easiest claims to prove from a burden of proof standpoint is that of a supplier, particularly a rental equipment supplier. Oftentimes, these claims are more in the realm of a collection claim because a rental supplier will generally be able to establish that a party opened an account with them, signed a credit application and personal guaranty, and equipment was rented and even delivered to a specific jobsite during set dates. Defending these claims is not so easy. And even if there is a defense as it relates to some amounts, there needs to be an upside challenging those amounts when factoring in the attorney’s fees, costs, and interest on the other amounts and on continuing the dispute.
An example of the difficulty in defending these claims from rental suppliers can be found in the recent case of Custom Design Expo, Inc. v. Synergy Rents, Inc., 2021 WL 4125806 (Fla. 2d DCA 2021). Here, a contractor rented equipment (e.g, forklifts) from a supplier. The equipment was rented on an open account and the contractor signed a personal guaranty. The supplier sued the contractor for about $81,000 that remained unpaid. The supplier appeared to waste no time and moved for summary judgment with an affidavit from its credit manager. The credit manager affirmed that the contractor executed a credit application for purposes of renting equipment on an open account, the application contained a personal guaranty, and the credit application formed the basis of a contract. The credit manager authenticated the credit application and affirmed that the contractor owed it about $81,000 in unpaid amounts for rental equipment that was furnished under the credit application.