Sacramento 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 Sacramento, 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 disagreements 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 disagreements 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 Sacramento, California is definitely not something that anybody likes doing. Nonetheless, it is sometimes necessary, as a last resort.
Examples of Construction Disputes That Might Lead to Litigation in Sacramento, California
Delays: Some minor delays in a construction project are all but guaranteed to occur. Normally, if contracts require a specific completion date, the contractor will give itself longer than the project would take under ideal circumstances, to account for possible delays. Additionally, construction contracts usually attempt to insure against delays, such as imposing fees on contractors if the project is delayed beyond a certain point. If no such clause is included in a contract, a court will usually award the client damages that could have been reasonably anticipated at the time the contract was entered into.
Owner's refusal to pay: Contractors can also be the victims in construction disagreements. Sometimes, the person who hired them will refuse to pay the agreed-upon fee, or withhold a portion of it. This, without more, certainly constitutes breach of contract. However, in such cases, the owner will rarely go to court and say "I just didn't feel like paying, so I didn't." Rather, they will claim that they had a very good reason to withhold all or part of the payment, such as unsatisfactory work by the contractor. In these situations, the court has to determine if the owner has a valid reason for not paying. If it concludes that he or she does not, it will order the owner to pay the agreed-upon price.
Subcontractor Disputes: In large projects, contractors often can't handle every aspect of the construction, so they hire other (normally 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 Lien: When a contractor wins a case against a client for nonpayment of the contract price, and the client still declines 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. Basically, 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 funds to the contractor, to secure payment.
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Can a Sacramento, 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 crucial to hire a Sacramento, California construction disputes attorney, who can advise you on the next steps in the process.
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Life in SacramentoSacramento is the capitol of the State of California, seat of Sacramento County, and still only ranks as the 6th largest city in the state. Cited as one of the most ethnically and racially integrated communities in the United States by Time Magazine, Sacramento plays host to a wide variety of public, private, and religious K-8 schools. California State University Sacramento, University of California Davis, and The Art Institute are just a few of the options residents have for higher education. In addition there are a number of other private, public, vocational, and community colleges in the area. The top employer in Sacramento remains the State of California. The California State Capitol Building was erected in 1874 and is reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol Building. "The Big Four" who included Mark Hopkins (of the Hotels), Charles Crocker (local Mansion/Art Museum and Rail tycoon), Leland Stanford (tycoon, industrialist, the university), and finally Collis P. Huntington (another Transcontinental Railroad tycoon) financed the construction of the Capitol Building out of pocket.
Sacramento has a number of outstanding museums and tourist amenities like the Crocker Art Museum, a local NBA team, a historic Old Town District, and the western terminus of the Pony Express which is Sutter's Fort. the Fort was erected in 1839 and is most famous for its association with the Donner Party and Sutter's Mill where gold was first found. Aside from the historical, Sacramento is host of the major courts in the area including the California State Supreme Court, Sacramento County and City Courts, and other Federal run courts. These buildings are largely located in Downtown Sacramento but serve the entire Central Valley.