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California Construction Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: We failed final inspection, but our contractor wants final payment and is threatening a lien.

For our 300sqft addition, our contractor graded the existing property 3 feet below the existing soil level, exposing the foundation of the existing perimeter structures. We failed final inspection on 9 items (8 were uncompleted scope items, and one was that this exposed existing structure... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jun 3, 2024

Under California law, a contractor is generally not entitled to final payment until the contracted work is completed to the agreed-upon standards and has passed all required inspections. Since your project failed final inspection on multiple items, including the safety hazard caused by... View More

3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Construction contact question

I paid a construction company to build an ADU via lenders and I can't get an answer from them on any updates. I want to get my money back.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 31, 2024

Under California law, if you paid a construction company to build an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) and they are unresponsive about updates, there are steps you can take to seek a resolution. First, review your contract to understand the terms and conditions, including any clauses about project... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Construction contact question

I paid a construction company to build an ADU via lenders and I can't get an answer from them on any updates. I want to get my money back.

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
answered on Jun 2, 2024

Thank you for your question!

You need to document all your requests for an update and lack of any progress on your project.

If the company fails to respond in a reasonable amount of time, you send them a demand letter with the help of a lawyer.

If the negotiation fails, you...
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2 Answers | Asked in Appeals / Appellate Law, Contracts, Construction Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: How does the Defendant need to present his defense and supporting documents in a Trial De Novo - Small Claims Appeal?

No written contract signed by P & D for the repairs on D prop. P did some work without giving any quote based on a verbal agreement that he would accept whatever the insu would pay. P told D that the claim would be 20K but the insu approved 10K. In a week then D had to go out of state. D bought... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 31, 2024

In a Trial De Novo for a small claims appeal in the Superior Court of California, you need to present your defense and supporting documents clearly and concisely. Start by organizing all relevant documents, including receipts for the $2,000 payment, proof of purchase for supplies, and any... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Appeals / Appellate Law, Contracts, Construction Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: How does the Defendant need to present his defense and supporting documents in a Trial De Novo - Small Claims Appeal?

No written contract signed by P & D for the repairs on D prop. P did some work without giving any quote based on a verbal agreement that he would accept whatever the insu would pay. P told D that the claim would be 20K but the insu approved 10K. In a week then D had to go out of state. D bought... View More

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
answered on May 31, 2024

A home building contractor is governed by the Contractor’s State License Law (Bus & P C §§7000 et seq). This law defines a “contractor” very broadly to include anyone who does any work on a building project of any kind. Home improvement projects worth more than $500 must be in writing... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Appeals / Appellate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: How to print and present text messages on cell phones as evidence in court?

There are numerous text messages back and forth between the Plaintiff and the Defendant.

1) How to print and present all the text messages from cell phones as evidence in court for Trial De Novo - Small Claims Appeal? To take a photo of each text message and print that photo seems very... View More

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
answered on May 28, 2024

You can use different software such as Decipher TextMessage, iMazing, PhoneView (Mac), etc. make sure the software insert time, phone number, and other relevant information.

Authentication is usually required by a declaration or other methods.

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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Appeals / Appellate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: How to print and present text messages on cell phones as evidence in court?

There are numerous text messages back and forth between the Plaintiff and the Defendant.

1) How to print and present all the text messages from cell phones as evidence in court for Trial De Novo - Small Claims Appeal? To take a photo of each text message and print that photo seems very... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 28, 2024

Here are some tips for preparing and presenting text messages as evidence in court:

1. Authenticate the messages. You'll need to prove the messages are authentic, not altered or fabricated. Options include having the other party admit the messages are authentic, having a witness who...
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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Construction Law and Municipal Law for California on
Q: Can a company force payment in full for materials you refuse, even after they had a deposit on the purchase agreement?

Ordered a pergola- which was about $32k, placed a 20% deposit on materials. Hired a contractor through the materials company which advised 60 days later that it would not be able to be installed due to permitting requirements that will not be feasible without a significant investment to restructure... View More

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman
answered on May 21, 2024

The general rule in CA in a number of places/ways is simply, you did not get what you paid for and you are entitled to a full refund. Sounds like they will NOT give it voluntarily. Their position seeking payment in full is not based on any law I've ever heard of. Regardless, their position... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Construction Law and Municipal Law for California on
Q: Can a company force payment in full for materials you refuse, even after they had a deposit on the purchase agreement?

Ordered a pergola- which was about $32k, placed a 20% deposit on materials. Hired a contractor through the materials company which advised 60 days later that it would not be able to be installed due to permitting requirements that will not be feasible without a significant investment to restructure... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 22, 2024

In California, the enforceability of a contract requiring full payment for custom materials, even if the buyer refuses delivery, depends on the specific terms of the purchase agreement and the circumstances surrounding the transaction.

Generally, a deposit serves as a form of security for...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: What can I do about a contractor's unsatisfactory repair work?

My house was caught on fire back in February 2022. During the time we were displaced and were renting a home paid for by my home insurance, our contractor stated that they hadn't begun work yet pending permit approval etc. In April 2023 when my insurance displacement funding ran out,... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 15, 2024

Under California law, you have several options to address unsatisfactory repair work by a contractor:

1. Contact the contractor: First, try to resolve the issue directly with the contractor. Provide a detailed list of the problems and request that they fix the issues under warranty. Keep...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: What can I do about a contractor's unsatisfactory repair work?

My house was caught on fire back in February 2022. During the time we were displaced and were renting a home paid for by my home insurance, our contractor stated that they hadn't begun work yet pending permit approval etc. In April 2023 when my insurance displacement funding ran out,... View More

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
answered on May 19, 2024

Thank you for your question!

You can bring a breach of contract, implied warranty, express warranty, or tort damages (e.g., negligent, emotional distress).

The house may need to be examined by an expert to testify about the damages.

Different factors may be involved such...
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2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation, Construction Law and Contracts for California on
Q: Some construction was done but no contract signed by either party

On SC-100 form, Plaintiff (P) (on behalf of his corp) under the penalty of perjury stated that Defendant (D) signed a contract for $9,200. In reality, D was never given any contract before the start of work and had never signed any contract. P had done some work on the property of D without the... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 27, 2024

In this case, the Defendant (D) has several potential arguments to appeal the Small Claims court decision and have the case dismissed:

1. No valid contract: D can argue that there was no valid, enforceable contract between the parties since no contract was signed by either party. Without a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation, Construction Law and Contracts for California on
Q: Some construction was done but no contract signed by either party

On SC-100 form, Plaintiff (P) (on behalf of his corp) under the penalty of perjury stated that Defendant (D) signed a contract for $9,200. In reality, D was never given any contract before the start of work and had never signed any contract. P had done some work on the property of D without the... View More

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
answered on Apr 30, 2024

A: I need to know more facts for a better answer, but here are some of my estimations:

1. As you mentioned, there can be a challenge for the Small Claim's (SC) lack of jurisdiction over the case.

2. You may be able to claim "abuse of discretion" in admitting evidence....
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: what are our options when a contractor does not pay a subcontractor for a job done for over two months?
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answered on Apr 25, 2024

Under California law, a subcontractor who has not been paid for work performed has several options to seek payment from the contractor. Here are some of the main options:

1. Mechanic's Lien: A subcontractor can file a mechanic's lien against the property where the work was...
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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Do we have any recourse?

We are an S-Corp Contractor in California. We are a 3rd tier sub and we filed a mechanics lien because our customer has not paid us the full amount due. This is a private job, but we discovered during filing the lien that the property is owned by a County and leased to who we were told was the... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 23, 2024

Under California law, you may have some recourse even though the property is owned by the county. Here are a few potential options:

1. Stop Payment Notice: In California, if you are not paid on a construction project, you can serve a stop payment notice on the owner, even if the owner is a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: A new roof was built in 2012. Am I covered by CA law for damage due to wear and tear? I live in LA County.

During construction of the roof, there was a rainstorm. The worker was instructed to lay tarps on the roof before departing to protect the unfinished roof from damage. He failed to due so, and I had leaks coming into the house. The foreman of the job came during the rainstorm to patch the leaks and... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 11, 2024

Based on the information you provided, it seems that the leak in your roof may be due to the improper installation and the failure of the worker to protect the unfinished roof during construction in 2012. In California, the statute of limitations for construction defects is typically 10 years from... View More

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Construction Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: A client has refused to pay my closing invoice for services rendered what can I do
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 30, 2024

Under California law, if a client has refused to pay your closing invoice for services rendered, you have several steps you can take to pursue the payment owed to you. Initially, it's advisable to attempt resolving the dispute amicably by contacting the client directly to discuss the issue.... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Rights, Construction Law, Small Claims and Business Law for California on
Q: So I’m a small business owner and my client refused to pay the ending balance on her invoice for $3500 what can I do
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 29, 2024

Under California law, when facing a situation where a client refuses to pay the remaining balance on an invoice, you have several avenues to consider. Initially, you should attempt to resolve the dispute amicably by communicating directly with the client. It's beneficial to review the contract... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Construction Law Litigation I am a homeowner and the plaintiff on a residential construction defect in California.

The contractor brought in all the subcontractors into the case.

Do I need to deal directly with the subcontractors or just with the contractor’s personal attorney and his insurance attorney?

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answered on Mar 8, 2024

In a residential construction defect case in California where the general contractor has brought in subcontractors as cross-defendants, you will primarily deal with the contractor's personal attorney and their insurance attorney. However, there may be instances where you or your attorney will... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: I need a construction defect attorney

My property is 2 years old and till current having issues poor workmanship poor material quality etc

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answered on Feb 26, 2024

Under California law, homeowners who discover construction defects in their properties have rights and options for recourse. These defects can range from poor workmanship to the use of substandard materials. Given your property is only two years old and experiencing such issues, you may have a... View More

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