Norwalk Construction Dispute Lawyers

Norwalk 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 Norwalk, 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, the owners of land and contractors can end disputes before they get too serious, thus eliminating the need for litigation. Most contracts governing construction projects have built-in remedies for the most common problems, typically requiring the party that causes a delay or other problem to pay the other party a set fee.

Even if the parties can't easily resolve their disputes, and someone else needs to intervene, that somebody doesn't always need to be a judge or jury. Many construction disputes call for mediation, during which a neutral third party helps the parties to the dispute negotiate a settlement. They might also go through arbitration, during which a third party renders a binding decision.

Litigating a construction dispute in Norwalk, California is definitely not something that anybody likes doing. However, it is sometimes necessary, as a last resort.

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

Major Delays: If the contractor or a subcontractor is at fault in causing a considerable delay to a project (several months, for example), this may lead to a lawsuit. If the contract stated that time was of the essence for some reason (maybe the project was a new store that the owner hoped to open before the holiday shopping season, for example), a court can typically award the owner any damages that were caused by the delay.

Owner's refusal to pay: if the contractor finishes a project to specifications, and the owner of the property doesn't pay the contractor, the contractor will most likely file a lawsuit to recover the agreed-upon price. In such cases, the owner will typically argue that the contractor's work wasn't of acceptable quality. In these cases, the court must decide who first breached the contract. In these cases, it's the party who did not breach first who wins the lawsuit. If the court finds that the contractor breached the contract through sub-quality work product, the owner will not be responsible for payment (though he may have to pay for materials and labor), and if the court finds that the construction was acceptable, the owner has to pay, because he is the party in breach.

Subcontractors: Subcontractors are hired by general contractors to assist them in large construction projects, typically specialized tasks like installing plumbing. However, no matter how much of the work is performed by subcontractors, the general contractor (the one that the client actually hired to do the project) is liable to the landowner as if it were doing all the work itself. This basically means that, if a subcontractor messes up, the general contractor is the one who gets sued. But all is not lost in such a situation. If the general contractor has to compensate the owner because of the mistakes of a subcontractor, it can sue the subcontractor for whatever it had to pay to the landowner.

Mechanic's Lien: When a contractor wins a lawsuit against a client for nonpayment of the contract price, and the client still refuses to pay, there is a problem: a monetary judgment means next to nothing if it can't be enforced. To solve this problem, the mechanic's lien has been developed. Typically, if a landowner refuses to pay a contractor, even in the face of a court order, the court can force a sale of the property that the contractor worked on, along with all the improvements on it, and then give the proceeds to the contractor, to secure payment.

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Can a Norwalk, 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 necessary to hire a Norwalk, California construction disputes attorney, who can advise you on the next steps in the process.

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Life in Norwalk

Norwalk is a suburb located in Los Angeles County, California.  It boasts a population of over 105,000 people and is the California's 58th most populated city.  The economy of Norwalk, California is driven largely by retail and entertainment business. Its location close to Los Angeles makes it a popular place for living and recreation.

The city of Norwalk emphasizes the development of arts and culture.  For example, Norwalk operates an "Art in Public Places Program", which places internationally- recognized high-caliber sculptures on display throughout the city.  The Program is intended to raise awareness of art in Norwalk while at the same time beautifying the city.  Due to its artistic appeal, many films and television shows were filmed in Norwalk, such as the Karate Kid, CHiPs, and Monk. 

Norwalk is an important city for lawyers as it is home to the Los Angeles County Registrar and Recorder.  The Registrar's office has jurisdiction over matters like voter registration and marriage license issuance.  It is also responsible for recording legal documentation of real property as well as birth, death, and marriage records.  The office services over 2,000 customers per day and maintains over 2 million personal and real property documents. 

Lawyers in Norwalk, California are available to assist clients with many different types of legal issues.  Norwalk lawyers can provide help for persons filing with the Registrar's office.  They also process many legal claims at the Southeast District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which is located in Norwalk.

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