Fontana Construction Dispute Lawyers

Fontana Construction Dispute Lawyers, CA

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Construction Dispute Law in California

When a property owner and a general contractor contract for a construction project to take place on some property in Fontana, California, whether it's a house, some landscaping, or a remodeling project, there is always a gamble that something can go wrong. In fact, at least a very minor setback may be more likely than not.

Most often, landowners and construction contractors are able to resolve minor to moderate disagreements between themselves, and litigation is rarely necessary. Nobody likes litigation, so, to this end, most construction contracts have built-in remedies in case something goes wrong, like set price reductions if construction is delayed.

Even if disagreements can't be resolved amongst the parties to the contract, they don't need to take their dispute into the court system. For instance, construction contracts typically call for mediation or arbitration before any disputes are resolved by the courts. Mediation is a process by which a third party serves as a sort of intermediary in settlement negotiations between the parties to the contract. The mediator can help keep negotiations on track, and suggest possible solutions the parties might not have thought of. The mediator can't issue a binding decision, however. Arbitration is a procedure through which the parties agree to have their dispute resolved by a third party, which can render a binding decision. Arbitration can be quicker and cheaper than litigation, and it has some other advantages, as well.

Litigation of construction disputes in Fontana, California can be extremely time-consuming, stressful, and costly. Nevertheless, there are (relatively rare) occurrences where it is the only option.

Examples of Construction Disputes That Might Lead to Litigation in Fontana, California

Delays in Construction: Delays are frequently points of contention between contractors and landowners. Contracts sometimes have clauses which explicitly state that the project needs to be completed by a certain date, or penalties will be imposed on the contractor (reduced payments, for example). However, if the contract doesn't contain such built-in remedies, or one party refuses to abide by them, litigation may be necessary. If a contractor causes a delay that it could have prevented, it will typically be liable to the landowner for any harm resulting from it.

Refusal to Pay: Disagreements can also arise from a client's refusal or inability to hold up his end of the deal. Sometimes, once a project is complete, or nearly so, a landowner will express an unwillingness to pay the contractor for his services. There might be a variety of reasons for this - sudden loss of money, or dissatisfaction with the quality of the work are a few examples. It's rare that a client will refuse to pay a contractor simply because they don't feel like it (and if that is the reason, they'll typically come up with a better one to argue in court). In these cases, a court will occasionally have to decide if the client is obligated to pay the full price. If the work was, indeed, not up to the standards laid out in the contract, the contractor is not entitled to the full price, but is still entitled to the actual value of the work, even if it's considerably less than the contract price.

Subcontractor Disputes: In large projects, contractors often can't handle every aspect of the construction, so they hire other (typically smaller) contractors to do some specialized work for them, such as plumbing, electrical installations, and the like. The general contractor, nonetheless, is responsible to the owner for anything that goes wrong. If a subcontractor messes up, and the owner sues the contractor, the contractor will have to pay. Nonetheless, the contractor can then go after the subcontractor to recover whatever he had to pay.

Mechanic's Liens: Sometimes, when a contractor wins in a case against the landowner who hired him or her, and obtains a court order for payment, the contractor will still refuse to pay. Since a money judgment isn't worth much without a way to enforce it, the laws of many states have evolved to permit what's known as a "mechanic's lien." As a last resort, if a landowner refuses to pay the contractor for work done on the property, the contractor can force a sale of the property, and keep the proceeds, up to the amount of money owed.

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Can a Fontana, California Attorney Help?

If you have a construction dispute, you should first try to resolve it amicably with the other party. If this fails, it is almost always imperative to hire a Fontana, California construction disputes attorney, who can advise you on the next steps in the process.

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Life in Fontana

Fontana, California is known as a central hub for the trucking industry because Interstate 10, State Route 210 and Interstate 15 surround it.  Fontana lies in San Bernardino County, California.  The area is famous for its history, with a historic regional park, theater, and the Kaiser Steel Mill.  Alongside history, Fontana is also home to runners all over California because Fontana hosts the Fontana Days Half Marathon and the 5K run.  This race is known all over the world as the fastest marathon course!

Fontana is home to approximately 196,069 residents, which includes a diverse population of African Americans, Caucasians, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Latinos.  With so many people, naturally Fontana would offer many cultural, sports, and recreation activities.  These activities include the Center Stage Theater, Art Depot, Auto Club Speedway and Fontana Park. 

Fontana's main industry is the trucking industry.  Therefore the city is home to many truck dealerships and equipment sales centers.  Legal services are available to support this industry via small law offices in Fontana that have excellent attorneys.  For larger firms or extensive legal representation, the industry and residents of Fontana have available the many law firms that are located in nearby Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga. 

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