Construction Cases

Construction Defect and Contractor Negligence

The firm represents property owners, contractors and developers in negligence claims arising out of construction and renovation projects.

In new construction it is rare to find a structure that is leak free or defect free.

Historically the greatest number of construction defect and contractor negligence cases has arisen in San Francisco Bay Area communities with substantial growth or redevelopment, (like Walnut Creek, Concord, Daly City, Pacifica, Redwood City, Mt. View and San Jose) and more mature areas like Marin County, where renovation and remodelling projects take place in Tiburon, Mill Valley & Larkspur.

As a result, judges in the courts of those counties - San Mateo, Marin, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa - have become particularly familiar with the legal issues involved. These judges are not strangers to the problems of land subsidence, water intrusion, window and deck flashing failures and the contractor negligence issues associated with each.

At the same time, experienced and highly effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) professionals and mediators are now available to assist parties find sensible resolutions to construction defect and contractor negligence disputes without the need for a full trial of the issues.

Our experience is that a frequent culprit in construction defect and contractor negligence cases is the unlicensed contractor. California law gives property owners several remedies in that situation. As a general rule the unlicensed contractor cannot collect payment for work done without a license. Furthermore any money already paid to the unlicensed contractor must be disgorged by the unlicensed individual and repaid.

With rare exception, the work of a "Contractor" (Business and Professions Code '7026) requires a California contractor's license. The burden is on the contractor to produce proof that he or she was licensed at the time work was performed. See: Advantec Group, Inc. v. Edwin's Plumbing Co. Inc. (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 621.

In 1989 the California Legislature authorized a "full repayment" remedy when an unlicensed person accepts money for doing work that requires a contractors license. The 1989 law is still very much in effect today and it requires full repayment of all monies paid to the unlicensed person. California Business & Professions Code Section 7031(b).

It may seem too strict at first glance, but this full repayment remedy under Section 7031(b) is founded on a sound public policy aimed at shutting off revenue to unlicensed contractors. The California Legislature has determined that the safety of the public is at stake and wants to put unlicensed contractors out of business.

The attorneys at Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates in San Francisco are experienced in litigating and solving these complex, construction defect and multi-party construction site negligence. The firm both prosecutes and defends cases involving general contractor and sub-contractor negligence. To learn more about the firm's experiences in construction negligence cases, water intrusion cases, remodeling fiascos and the ability of Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates to provide sensible solutions in construction defect and contractor negligence, contact your attorney at Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates.

Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates has earned an excellent reputation in the California legal community. Based on a peer review process, the firm has received the highest possible national rating ('AV') awarded to law firms by Martindale-Hubbell legal publishers. We are proud of that rating; and we keep it in mind 24/7.

We welcome new clients who face problems involving construction defects or contractor negligence; and, especially, projects where work has been performed by unlicensed individuals or businesses. Please review our Practice Areas and feel free to contact Sid Luscutoff or Jean-Yves Lendormy for assistance.