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February 2016 Archives

Los Angeles sues apartment developer in connection with 2014 fire

When people see or hear about a serious fire, the most common first question is "How did it start?" Surprisingly, many construction litigation cases ask a different question. In a recently filed lawsuit arising out of a large apartment building fire that occurred in December 2014, the central question is not the fire's origin but "How did the fire spread so rapidly?" The lawsuit was filed by the city of Los Angeles against the developer of the project, and the complaint alleges that the developer was negligent in ways that allowed the fire to spread rapidly.

Foreclosing a mechanics' lien in California

Most California contractors understand that filing a mechanic's lien is an effective way to guard against non-payment for work. To be effective, a mechanic's lien must be filed in the county where the work was performed within 60 days after completion of the work. Notice must also be given to the owner and to other potential lien claimants. Despite these protections, non-payment (or partial payment) for work is a common cause of contract disputes. Supposing that a contractor has complied with all of the statutory requirements necessary to create an effective lien, but still no payment is forthcoming. Now what happens?

A well-drafted contract can prevent litigation later on

Once a deal is made, contractors want to get started on the job. Reducing a business contract to writing often seems like an expensive detail. Sometimes, a businessman will adopt the one-size-fits-all approach and use a form agreement. In these cases, the contractor is being penny-wise and pound-foolish because a properly drafted construction agreement can help avoid contract disputes and preclude the need for expensive litigation later on.

Lender sues building owner to enforce development contract

For the past seven years, motorists driving on the 22 Freeway in Orange County have seen the steel framework for an unfinished six-story building in Garden Grove. Virtually no work was done on the structure during those seven years, and the framework acquired the nickname "Rusty Skeleton." Now another contract dispute threatens to derail recent plans to finish the structure.

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