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Builders and contractors face a number of unique challenges in California. Contractor and builder standards are primarily covered by the Right to Repair Act (Cal. Civil Code §§896-945.5) which establishes the standards that contractors and builders must meet or face liability. For certain types of defects, the code allows for “Strict Liability,” which generally lowers the standard of proof for plaintiffs. The code also introduces seven categories of issues that can arise:
The final category, Other Areas, is a wildcard or catch-all that can include just about any type of issue a homeowner may have. Oftentimes the issue a homeowner is facing was caused by a product made or manufactured by a third party and used in construction. This can be an effective defense in some circumstances. If you are a builder or contractor facing a construction defect challenge, McFarlin LLP construction defect defense attorneys can represent your interests in a cost-effective manner to find you the best solution.
One common allegation against builders and contractors in construction cases is negligence. In order to prove negligence in California, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the contractor fell below an established “professional standard of care” for the industry or failed to comply with the building code in some way. In order to establish the actual standard of care in any particular case, expert testimony is typically required.
To recover on a negligence claim (that falls outside the strict liability standard described above), the plaintiff must be able to prove actual bodily injury or property damage. An issue that “bothers” the homeowner, but is not causing injury or property damage, does not meet the standard for negligence. Sometimes contractor negligence cases are straightforward, for example, where the wrong mix of concrete was used and the house is crumbling away, but most times it’s more of a judgment call for experts. Frequently, contractor negligence cases come down to “the battle of the experts” where there are credible experts on both sides. Unfortunately, these cases can be expensive to defend, and often settle.
Mechanics’ Liens can be an effective and appropriate way for contractors to get paid for the work they have completed, but they can also be abused. In order to combat abusive mechanics’ lien filings, California has created a difficult, technical procedure for the recordation and foreclosure of mechanics’ liens. Any minor oversight along the way can compromise the entire claim and put the claimant back to square one. McFarlin LLP has gone through the mechanics’ lien process with many of our clients before and we understand the technical procedures and changing requirements that must be followed. If you are considering filing or are defending a mechanics’ lien, call us today for a free analysis of your matter.
If you are facing a construction defect, negligence or mechanics’ lien issue, McFarlin LLP can help. Our skilled and knowledgeable litigators can guide you through the process and devise the best strategy for a cost-effective solution. We are also business litigators, so if you are sued, we will give you the best chance of prevailing in Court or settle the matter favorably for you. Our construction attorneys are available to offer you a free initial evaluation of your matter. We’ll analyze the situation at no charge and provide you with a blueprint for an affordable solution. Call us today at (888) 728-0044.
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