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Orange County Business & Commercial Law Blog

California court will decide sponsorship contract dispute

Contracts are one of our best ways of cooperating across industries and jurisdictions. Most businesses and individuals like the system of contracts that keeps costs and risks down for large ventures. Fortunately, the system also comes with ways to resolve disputes.

A popular brand of performance beverage and related merchandise recently won a case in a California circuit of the U.S. District Court related to its intellectual property. The company claimed a firm with a similar name capitalized on it by also using their signature color scheme. As the court renders punitive damages to the defendant, the plaintiff is facing its own contract dispute challenge.

New ruling in Los Angeles expands California construction law

Construction is one of California's largest industries, as the state and its municipalities try to stay ahead of an expanding population and more industries drawing workers to the West Coast. The demand for extra residential and commercial space can cause some projects to move too fast or too far, leading to litigation over sites and what can be built there.

A recent case in Los Angeles County resolved a dispute over the level of environmental review required for a project that was moved due to legal opposition. A multinational corporation headquartered in Minnesota requested land-use entitlements for a Hollywood site that would include a three-story department store among other facilities. The city granted several variances for the building's planned height and parking area.

Possible state law changes may affect new construction

From the snow-capped mountains in Shasta County to the golden beaches stretching south of Los Angeles, California has an undeniable allure that no other state can claim. Although the state is one of the largest in the country, many sections of it are suffering a housing crisis that is acute enough to make lawmakers in Sacramento and citizens everywhere reconsider housing laws.

A current debate is over whether to end the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents cities from allowing rent controls on housing built after the law became valid in 1995. Berkeley is slated as the first to react to possible changes, allowing rent controls on housing after 20 years past its first residence certificate.

Lack of internet access endangers rural California

The expansion of states' and municipalities' legal requirements on the internet has made resources for businesses more accessible than ever. Many businesses can file important documents, legally required reports and even their taxes online.

There are several limits to online business creation. It is often easier to get into a business than get out of it or change it. Many first-time business creators do not know the advantages and disadvantages of specific tax structures and regulations, which can save or cost them thousands or even their business.

California clears up confusion about contract dispute mediation

California may be more scenic without a huge construction industry, but the homes and infrastructure for millions of people depend on the workers and equipment that build and maintain them. Construction projects are often complicated and involve different specialties, so owners and developers rely on contracts to get people to work together.

Disputes can happen in construction contracts all the time, so many include clauses for how the signatories will try to resolve them. Although several disputes turn into lawsuits and see the inside of a courtroom, a large majority are sorted out before that would ever be necessary.

Most California cities may soon have low-income housing laws

Construction is big business in California, and one of the world's largest economies relies on building to expand. As residential and commercial projects get even larger in a state affected by climate change and seismic activity, laws often expand to ensure safety for workers and residents alike.

Some social issues are also addressed by construction law, and the consequences for violating them are often severe for contractors and their employees. It is possible in a few weeks that most major cities in the Golden State will require low-income housing in many large residential projects.

5 business partner warning signs

When you start any business, including a construction company or a supporting business, you need to know that you can fully trust your business partner. The relationship that the two of you have is critical to the success of the company.

How do you know if you can trust that person? Here are a number of warning signs to watch out for:

  1. Your gut tells you that something is wrong. Listen to your instincts. Even if you can't quite put your finger on why you feel that way, you do not want to work with someone you cannot connect with.
  2. Communication is difficult. If your partner does not talk to you often or delays communication, it can be a sign of some very serious problems to come.
  3. They often fight with you over all sorts of minor details. You have huge decisions to make when running a business. This doesn't mean you always have to see eye-to-eye, but it's going to get exhausting if every single conversation turns into an argument.
  4. They won't bring up the financial side of the business. Conversations about money can be uncomfortable, but they are critical in any industry.
  5. They always pass the blame. When something goes wrong, your partner never accepts responsibility or apologizes. They just look for someone else to blame -- including you. People need to be able to learn from their mistakes, not pass the fault to others.

Delay clauses in construction contracts

When you are having a house built, there are few things as frustrating as seeing delays throw off the projected timetable. This can box you into a corner.

For instance, you may have already sold the home you live in. You may have given the new owners an occupancy date based on when you thought you could move into the new house. If that job runs far behind schedule, you now have to move twice, pay to rent a new place to live and deal with many other hassles that you did not expect and don't deserve.

Should you buy an existing construction company?

You want to start your own construction company. It is a dream you have had for a number of years now, and you are finally ready to make the transition from working for someone else to being in charge yourself.

While it is natural to assume that means you have to start from scratch, the reality is that you may be better off to buy a company that already exists. This is known as "entrepreneurship through acquisition."

Do earthquake standards need to save buildings?

The prevalence of earthquakes in much of California means that construction has to adhere to earthquake standards. These are designed to make buildings more resilient in the face of a quake than they would need to be elsewhere.

But is the goal to save the buildings themselves, allowing them to come through with minimal damage?

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