Pointing to a mound of black dirt in the yard of his current home repair project on Elm Street in Granite City, Kevin Link lamented, "There's a kid that works at McDonald's that asked me for work. If I had not paid a thousand in legal fees, I could have paid him to move this dirt."

Link, who's had to defend himself in what he claims was a frivolous lawsuit, said lawyers apparently have a strategy to cast a wide net, knowing that eventually they will catch somebody off guard.

The day for Link came when he was sued by a woman who chose to challenge him in court rather than ask him to fix a problem he promised he would. (See related story).

Armettia Peach's attorney, Thomas Maag, of the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, said he preferred suing big companies rather than small operators.

"He mentioned Wal-Mart," Link said. "He mentioned that he would much rather be doing that than this."

While his business has become better each year, Link said it took a while to learn how to screen families.

"You can always find somebody who will take a house, but the only people that are going to live in a trashy house are trashy people," he said.

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