Oakland 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 Oakland, 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, 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, normally 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 Oakland, 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 Oakland, 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.
Subcontractor Disputes: When a construction company is contracted to complete a large project, there is normally a great deal of specialized work to be done which they aren't equipped to handle. As a result, they hire other contractors, who, in this arrangement, are subcontractors, to do some of the work. However, the general contractor (the one that the landowner hired to do the work) is still responsible for the completion of the project - if a subcontractor causes a problem, the general contractor is on the hook for it. This sometimes leads to landowners suing general contractors for the mistakes of subcontractors. If the general contractor loses, and has to pay the client, the general contractor can then sue the subcontractor for whatever amount of money it had to pay.
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 Oakland, California Attorney Help?
Construction disputes can be time-consuming and costly. Hiring a brilliant Oakland, California real estate attorney can make it much easier to deal with such disputes, and help you avoid litigation, or prevail if litigation becomes necessary.
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Life in OaklandOakland is a San Francisco Bay Area city and major West Coast port. During the 1940s the Port of Oakland provided a bustling war industry that attracted many residents from the Deep South who were looking for work. Oakland home to seven major companies who are also major local employers: Kaiser Permanente, Clorox, Dreyer's, Cost Plus, Ask.com, and Pandora Radio to name a few. Oakland is also home to the Oakland International Airport, a major United States Postal Service center, FedEx, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Southwest Airline who each employ over 4,000 employees. Some San Francisco and Silicon Valley professionals opt to live in Oakland because the cost of living is much lower and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) options make it cheap to commute. Drivers use the Bay Bridge for nearest access to the peninsula.
Oakland is one of the most Diverse Alameda County cities with annual parades and celebrations. Some of that diversity can be attributed to the major universities and colleges in Oakland. California College of the Arts, Mills college, Holy Names University, Patten University, and University of California Berkeley all have installations in Oakland. Historic attractions like Jack London Square, Oakland Zoo, Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, the USS Potomac (President Roosevelt's Yacht), and the famous Fox Theater draw visitors from near and far.