Foster City Construction Dispute Lawyers
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 Foster City, California, whether it's a house, some landscaping, or a remodeling project, there is always a risk 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 disputes 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 normally 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 process through which the parties agree to have their dispute resolved by a third party, which can render a binding decision. Arbitration can be faster and cheaper than litigation, and it has some other advantages, as well.
Litigating a construction dispute in Foster City, 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 Foster City, California
Major Delays: If the contractor or a subcontractor is at fault in causing a massive 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 normally 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 normally 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 accountable 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: With big construction projects, contractors normally hire other, smaller contractors to do some of the work for them. This is normally work of a specialized nature, which the general contractor isn't equipped to handle (such as plumbing or electrical wiring). The general contractor is the one who is responsible for the satisfactory completion of the project. If a subcontractor makes a mistake, or causes a delay, the general contractor is ultimately liable to the person who hired them. However, if they are sued for the mistakes of a subcontractor, and lose, they can then sue the subcontractor to recover their losses.
Mechanic's Liens: Sometimes, when a contractor wins in a lawsuit 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 authorize 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 Foster City, 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 essential to hire a Foster City, California construction disputes attorney, who can advise you on the next steps in the process.
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Life in Foster CityFoster City, California is a master-planned city situated in San Mateo County. It has a population of about 31,000 and is sometimes held to be part of Silicon Valley due to its local industry. Foster City is considered an affluent community and has been featured several times in Forbes Magazine as well as Money Magazine.
As a master-planned city, Foster City offers many advantages and amenities, such as an efficient distribution of stores, restaurants, and resources. Master planning helps developers avoid "haphazard" construction and city layout. This has contributed to much of Foster's City's clean and pristine appearance. Foster City is also home to a number of attractions, including a boardwalk, a 9-hole golf course, an extensive $4 million Teen Activities Center, and a public amphitheater. Windsurfing is extremely popular within city limits.
Foster City, California is also known for being an important center for many high-tech companies as well as financial organizations. The city is headquarters to many nationally recognized businesses such as Adchemy, Gilead Sciences, Life Technologies, Live365, Philips, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and many others. One can access several points in the Bay Area from Foster City due to its location near the San Mateo Bridge.
Lawyers in Foster City, California often represent their clients at the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo. The court house has integrated much new technology including an electronic document camera. Foster City attorneys are available for assistance in many different fields of law.