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Orange County Business & Commercial Law Blog

Tips for writing an effective business contract

If you have started a business in Orange County or a preparing to do so, it's a good idea to know the ins and outs of contracts. You don't need to be an expert in contracts but knowing the basics will help you understand how they work and how they can benefit your company.

One of the most important tips for a strong business contract is to get it in writing. This is a given. When you sit down to write the contract make sure you use terms that you can understand. There's no reason to use legalese in the contract for it to be effective. Some of the best contracts are the ones where both parties can understand what has been written.

Should a construction contract be in writing?

One of the most commonly asked questions in the construction world is if a construction contract should always be recorded in writing. This is a very important question that should be answered by an attorney with experience in construction law.

It is not required by law in most jurisdictions to have a construction contract in writing. For the most part, when a construction contract falls within a statute of fraud in California, it will need to be in writing in order for it to be enforced.

How can a business law attorney help my company?

Many business owners often wonder why they would ever need a business law attorney on their payroll or on retainer. It's not uncommon to think about this issue, especially when many issues can be handled without the help of an attorney. For example, picking your company's name and writing a business plan. But, there are some more complicated issues that should be handled by an attorney.

Some of the most successful companies today have a business law attorney working for them or kept on retainer. You never know when legal matters will crop up, which is why it's best to find an attorney you trust well ahead of time. One such issue involves employees and discrimination complaints.

An explanation of legal liability in construction defects

Construction defects are more common than people think. There are times where they are found immediately and then there are times where they are found years after the construction has been completed. Some are very noticeable, while others are difficult to spot. Either way, construction defects are a problem. Today, we will take a look at legal liability in construction defects.

The contractor or developer on the job is required by law to exercise a legal duty of care that is typically employed by other contractors or developers. There is an extension of the duty of care to all those who could be harmed by a construction defect, such as future buyers of the property. Contractors and developers are also responsible for the negligence of their subcontractors.

Types of construction contracts in California

The construction industry is one of the most important in the state of California and the entire country for obvious reasons. When a contractor or construction company has a bid accepted, it can then begin to work on the contract. There are four common types of construction contracts used in the industry today.

A cost plus contract is one that includes the actual costs of materials purchased, costs of construction and any other expenses incurred from the activity. There must be detailed information included in the contract, including costs classified as indirect or direct. The four types of cost plus contracts are cost plus fixed fee, cost plus fixed percentage, cost plus with guaranteed max price and bonus and cost plus with guaranteed max price.

What is a construction defect in California?

The construction industry is a big indicator of the California economy and the country as a whole. If the industry is booming, the economy is stable. If the industry is struggling, the economy is taking a hit. An important part of the construction industry is safety. Defects can happen with construction, which is why we will take a closer look at this topic today.

A construction defect is defined as an issue in your home that reduces the home's value. A good number of defects are difficult to notice, while others are quite noticeable (patent), such as a leak or seepage of water in a basement. Some defects are not found until you have lived in the home for years (latent).

Easy steps to start a business in California

Thinking of starting your own business in California? You might be worried about how difficult the process is or even if your business would qualify. Don't let these worries get in the way. It's actually quite easy to start a business in the state, but it's always a good idea to have an experienced business law attorney on your side in the event that any legal issues arise.

Once you have the idea hashed out, you will need to plan the structure of the business and get it registered with the state. No matter the structure you choose, once the business is registered, it begins receiving tax breaks and the brand is protected. The most important part here is that your personal assets will no longer be on the line once the business is registered.

San Clemente and a homeowners association seek to bar toll road

A homeowners association and the city of San Clemente have initiated two lawsuits against the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) in an attempt to halt the creation of a toll road that would cut through the center of the town. In response to the litigation, at a board meeting held on Aug. 10, the TCA voted to defend against the litigation -- stating that it has the right to move forward with the project.

The TCA has been trying to expand the 241 Toll Road to connect with Interstate 5 close to Trestles Beach. However, a coalition of environmentalists filed a lawsuit in opposition to the expansion which has thus far prevented the 241 extension from being built. On Nov. 10, however, the TCA settled the lawsuits of the environmentalists by agreeing not to build or finance a toll road inside a specially identified protective zone to the south of San Clemente.

Tips for avoiding breach of contract issues in California

Entering into a contract for construction is an exciting time for all involved. It can also be a stressful time. Everyone involved might not know what to expect once the contract is signed, even if it is all laid out in black and white. One of the more difficult issues to deal with when it comes to contracts is a contract dispute. Here are some tips for avoiding breach of contract issues in California.

Every contract you sign should clearly outline and explain the quality of work that will be performed. The contract should also specify who determines the level of quality provided and how it is judged. Some companies even offer warranties for their work, putting the responsibility directly on themselves if the client is not completely happy with the quality of work provided.

What you should know about the CSLB's mandatory arbitration program - III

In a series of posts, our blog has been discussing how licensed California contractors must be aware that the complaints of aggrieved parties -- from homeowners and employees to subcontractors and fellow contractors -- may be resolved via alternative dispute resolution.

Specifically, we've been examining how the Contractors State License Board must refer a complaint to arbitration if certain elements are present, as well as the actual process leading up to the arbitration hearing. We'll conclude this discussion in today's post, examining both the hearing itself and the arbitration award. 

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