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California Construction Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation, Construction Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: I did some concrete work for a contractor and he says the home owner is refusing to pay. How do I get my money ?

Contractor says I need to file a lien on the homeowner but I’m not sure who is responsible when generally I’d be paid by the contractor.

James A. Greer
James A. Greer answered on Aug 27, 2021

Dear Unpaid Subcontractor: Your options for getting paid are two-fold: (A) a breach of contract claim against the General Contractor and/or (B) a mechanic's lien processing against the Homeowner. Clearly, you are not "required" to pursue the Homeowner (as intimated by the GC)... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Employment Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Can I sue for drug test mix up? If so, who gets sued, the clinic or lab?

I needed to do a drug test for a new company that was going to employ me and when I went to the urgent care to do so, my employer calls me 2 days later to tell me that my urine was mixed up with someone else. I want to take legal action but not if I have a case or not.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jul 30, 2021

It is not likely that you could so anyone.

Just go back and do another test. It is that simple.

The law does not provide valid legal claims for mere inconvenience.

Good luck to you.

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Q: I Want to Open Hydrogen Station, I wanted to Know about its Legal Formalities etc. In USA
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jul 28, 2021

A California attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for four weeks. It could be difficult for any attorney to meaningfully advise on the formalities you ask about in the brief format of this forum. There are many things to consider, whether from an intellectual property standpoint... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Construction Law for California on
Q: hello.on 11/20/2020 my husband contracted with a company to install chair lift in our home. at the time measurements

were taken and a 2k deposit given. the owner told my husband that the parts would not be at their warehouse until end of jan or first couple weeks in feb. my husband subsequently became deceased on 12/10 .i phoned and advised the owner of my husband's death and that i wished to cancel his... Read more »

James A. Greer
James A. Greer answered on Apr 25, 2021

Chairlift Cancellation: We always first start with analyzing the contract language, and so in this instance would be interested in examining any sort of "cancellation" provisions. If none, then we would need to look to case law, and the focus is on "impossibility to perform"... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Would forming an LLC or Corporation be better for a person who wants to start their own General Contracting Company?

I want to become a first time business owner and was wondering which would suite me the best in terms of taxes, protection, and future costs? I am planning to elect to file taxes under S-Corp subsection for either of these business entities that I am willing to go with.

Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
Shawn R. Jackson Esq. answered on Feb 22, 2021

The answer to your question should be developed in an initial free consultation by video call or telephone call. The short answer is ... it depends" ... upon your preferred management structure, the operations plan, your succession plan ... and how well you get along with others ...

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1 Answer | Asked in Workers' Compensation and Construction Law for California on
Q: I was trying to service an ac unit on the 2nd roof of a townhouse a roof tile broke under my ladder, broke my ankle

I am trying to see how to move forward with this. I got up on the first roof then my co worker handed me the ladder to get to the second roof I secured it got up about 3 steps then the roof tile broke my ladder slid and my weight the the weight of my ladder came down on my right ankle and broke it... Read more »

Nancy J. Wallace
Nancy J. Wallace answered on Feb 20, 2021

This is a classic Workers Compensation claim. to 'move forward', you get a REAL ortho surgeon from the comp insurer's approved list, do NOT let the comp insurance adjuster or the boss pick your treating physicians or you won't be happy. But you need the list of approved... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Can a licensed CA. General contractor perform home inspections and be hired to complete the repair work?

Is there any circumstances where a CA. Licensed General contractor can be paid for a home inspection and be hired separately for the nessasary repairs to the same home? B&P code says that home inspectors performing repair work can be considered as unfair business practices. Does that mean... Read more »

Ernest Charles Payne Jr
Ernest Charles Payne Jr answered on Feb 6, 2021

You’re talking about CA B&P 7197. The law is pretty clear and the circumstances where a company performing a home inspection can also perform repairs are very narrow and limited: like roof repairs pursuant to a roof certification inspection or termite repairs pursuant to a termite report.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: After default, can I present new evidence against the plaintiff?

I'm in default but have learned that the contractor needed a separate permit to perform the work so that the work would be reviewed by the city and signed off accordingly. That was part of the contract, that I would have to pay them once the city signed off the permit. Since they didn't... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Dec 23, 2020

if there is a default against you, it means you failed to appear and the judge entered judgment. there are only limited circumstances where that default could be lifted and you will need a lawyer to go over those options and do the work which means you will need to pay a lawyer to do this. it is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: For a $50k job can a contractor have an escrow co. ask for/hold the entire $50k vs asking for a $1k deposit to go around

For a $50k job can a contractor have an escrow co. ask for/hold the entire $50k vs asking for a $1k deposit to go around Business & Professions Code 7159. Therefor the contractor is not asking for the whole payment upfront but an escrow company with specific instruction on when to release... Read more »

James A. Greer
James A. Greer answered on Dec 8, 2020

Dear "Unlawful Deposit" Inquirer: This is an interesting question, and in honesty the only real "authority" on the correct/authorized answer would be an investigative personnel at the CSLB (Contractors State License Board). Nevertheless, I'll use 30+ years experience in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Home remodel went 70% over budget—and contract is fuzzy. Do we still owe our general contractor his 15% final payment?

Our G.C. said he could remodel and expand our small, 50-year-old Calif. home for $300,000 and complete in 8 months. After 11.5 months, we insisted on moving back in even though it was not completed. Total cost for labor/materials so far has been around $470,000. Due to the delays, we had to pay an... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Oct 21, 2020

Home Improvement Contracts are required to be in writing and for a fixed price, have a fixed completion date and have certain other requirements.

https://www.wolfflaw.com/legal-requirements-and-concerns-for-home-improvement-residential.html

Have an experienced Construction...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Constitutional Law, Construction Law, Consumer Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: I am a homeowner in Ca I hired a contractor to do painting around the house. I am I in my rights to fire the contractor.

I hired the contactor to do painting around the house. The job is not being done correctly or at all.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 5, 2020

You have the right to terminate any contract at any time for any reason BUT you cannot terminate all contracts without penalty. Meaning, if you terminate the contract without "good cause" you may have to pay the other party some damages. Now you say that they are not doing it... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: My home has been under construction for 3 years because my contractor has delayed and works very minimally. What do I do

It was demo’d for a whole year and a half to the point where water was leaking in the existing portion. He keeps asking for money and changing the agreement. We are way over budget and now we are waiting for the inspector. The permit is potentially expired so he would have to renew. He framed... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Oct 3, 2020

It seems you may not have a very good contractor, and he may not have the best skills.

Does your contract have a firm completion date?

Have you made changes to the contract since it was signed?

You should consult with an experienced construction attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Does paying for a permitted bathroom include the unclogging of a sink?

The original quote for bathroom remodel (fully permitted, replace sink, tub, toilet and finishes) did not specifically call out for unclogging of sink drain. GC agreed verbally after quote was signed to unclog the sink drain. He sent out a plumber ("out of the goodness of his heart") and... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 15, 2020

Interesting. The GC rushed to finish the job, in order to get paid, and the plumbing was not operational. Now you have to demo the new construction. Possible negligence on the part of the GC because the warning bells should have gone off when the gratuitous plumber could not unclog the drain.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Am I required to hire a General Contractor in CA, for work designed and installed by certified licensed contractors

Sold a 40 year old home AS-IS. After Close Of Escrow buyer discovered issue with location of electrical meter. We agreed to pay damages to have meters moved. But, now they are also requesting payment for "general contractor" fees - essentially the hours the private homeowner invested to... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 1, 2020

Is the buyer a General Contractor? Does he have a written contract with himself to perform the work he is billing for that comports with the contract requirements for contractors in California? If either of these answers is no, he does not get anything and even if they are both yes, he probably... Read more »

5 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents, Construction Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: What are my options when trying to recoup vehicle repair costs associated with damage caused by Caltrans' subcontractor?

Hello,

Significant vehicle damage was incurred due to freeway construction debris collision with my vehicle. Caltrans claim was submitted by both my vehicle insurance and myself. Caltrans responded about a year later to my insurance, stating that this instance was caused by their... Read more »

Robert Dourian
Robert Dourian answered on Aug 31, 2020

I sounds like your options have narrowed down to filing an action for property damages. It is not so clear that CALTRANS is not responsible, but its all about the actual facts and circumstances. This matter may not make sense for an attorney to take on if the dollar amount of the damage is low.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Can I fight a law not allowing me to put a shade.

There is an ordinance in my city that says I have a 25’setback. I only have a 30’ driveway. I need something to help keep my house cooler and help my home become more energy efficient. Is the city obligated to give me some type of solution?

James A. Greer
James A. Greer answered on Aug 26, 2020

Dear California SET BACK LAW questioner: The 25 foot set back precludes erection of a building structure but typically does not preclude, for example, an arbor or a shade sail or retractable awning. If you construct one of these examples above your sun-facing windows that may offer relief. You... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Is a partial down payment enough to secure a job for a contractor?

Gave me 800 in cash...down payment was 7500

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Aug 18, 2020

Well, look at your written construction contract, you know, the one required by law. Does it say that you are not retained until you get the entire deposit? Give back the money and written notice that you are turning down the job for his non performance.

Justia disclaimers below,...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Construction Law and Contracts for California on
Q: May I apply a affidavit to filing civil law suit against child dependency, and county counsel representative for cps
Louis George Fazzi
Louis George Fazzi answered on Aug 14, 2020

We need a lot more information from you in order to understand what your issue is all about. There is insufficient detail to allow me to give you any kind of advice. Any lawyer will need to know enough detail to understand your situation. A chronological statement of what happened, when, where, how... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Can I be held to contract if it's underbid?

Independent sales person underbid a job, had customer sign our contract and collect deposit. I went out there to site survey it and realized the job was undersold and needed additional equipment and work that I'm not licensed to do. I'm an electrician, and they need stucco work for the... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 19, 2020

Yes, he has a case, but you may have a defense. You are responsible for the contracts that your agents negotiate. But from what you say you may have the defense of Impossibility of performance, if you do not have the license to perform the job. You might also want to be sure that the contract is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Do California meals and overtime laws apply to small paving company of 11 employees?

Are there differences to the law based on the size of the company or industry (paving)?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 22, 2020

The short answer is that the Wage Orders apply to all employers no matter what size. The complicated answer with respect to your question is whether your company is a government contractor and subject to additional laws regarding the rate of pay (prevailing wage) that they must pay to employees... Read more »

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