Can Recovery for Work on a Residence Exceeding $ 1000 Be Made Without a Written Contract or Work Order ?

In K. Miller Construction Co., Inc. v. McGinnis,394 Ill. App. 3d 248, 913 N.E.2d 1147, 332 Ill. Dec. 857 (2009), the McGinnises orally agreed to pay Miller, a contractor, $ 187,000 for remodeling work in 2004. In 2005, the project expanded significantly and the McGinnises orally agreed to pay over $ 500,000. In 2006, Miller completed the project. The McGinnises paid Miller $ 177,580.33 but refused to pay any more. Miller filed a complaint against the McGinnises, alleging that he was entitled to: (1) a lien on the McGinnises' property for over $ 300,000; (2) recover the unpaid balance based on breach of the oral contract, and/or; (3) compensation for his labor, materials, and services on a quantum meruit theory. The McGinnises filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Miller could not recover because he never provided a written contract as required by the Act. The trial court granted the McGinnises' motion to dismiss. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of Miller's foreclosure and breach of contract claims, stating: "We find no merit to Miller's contention that his lien foreclosure claim in count I and his breach of contract claim in count II can stand in the face of the plain language of the Act that bars recovery for work that exceeds $ 1,000 on a residence without a written contract or work order." McGinnis, 394 Ill. App. 3d at 253, 913 N.E.2d at 1152. The court concluded, "In the absence of a written contract or work order, Miller's time and materials oral contract is unenforceable under the Act." McGinnis, 394 Ill. App. 3d at 253, 913 N.E.2d at 1152.