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I am a licensed general contractor being sued by a homeowner.

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I am a licensed general contractor being sued by a homeowner. During the remodeling process a city inspector must approve each phase before moving onto the next. The project was near completion when the homeowner began giving me list after list of things that he didn't like which I repaired or changed. The homeowner then decided that he was going to sue which he did. The architect was sued for $100k which the insurance settled. My bond was paid of $12,500 to them and a sub-contractor of mine had his bond paid of $12,500. The homeowner is intent on sueing me for $200,000 but stated that if the insurance company pays him he will drop the suit. He is saying that the foundation was done incorrect however, it was inspected and approved. The homeowner called for a supervisor inspector and he did not approve and then another inspector was sent out and it was approved. Is there any recourse against the inspection department because all work has been approved. Naturally I do have an attorney but am given the advice just go bankrupt which does not sit well with me. My contractor's license is at stake which is my livelihood. My 30 years in the business have provided for ethical workmanship and I've never encountered this. There is much more involved such as dealing with homeowner's drug issues, having crew and their tools being thrown off of job, etc. The main issue is recourse with the inspectors.
Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 3 years ago.

Hello and thanks for choosing Just Answer®.

 

I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and assist you. To provide you with accurate information, could you please clarify this point:

 

  1. What is your question for a legal expert to answer?

 

Once I hear back from you, I will be glad to let you know my answer. There may be some delay as I am assisting other customers or am away from my computer. Please rest assured, however, that I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Thanks!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My question is since every step of the residential remodel was approved how can the inspector reverse a decision (on the foundation) and if I am being sued because of this do I have recourse against the city inspector's office.
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 3 years ago.

Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.

 

  1. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and answer your question. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification on anything after reviewing the following information. Thanks for writing back and supplying the additional information, which was helpful to my analysis of your inquiry.
  2. SInce you are represented by legal counsel, I will have to defer to your attorney to provide actual advice and counsel. However, without in any way intending to interfere with the attorney-client professional relationship, I will be glad to comment and provide information. The law does impose liability upon inspectors and employs a general care negligence tort law standard. California Business and Professions Code §§ 7195-7199. However, in the context of a municipality (seeing your mention of a city inspector's office), you will be facing procedural hurdles including an assertion of immunity against suit. In addition, there will be special notice provisions not otherwise applicable to civil suits against private parties. So, unfortunately, the botXXXXX XXXXXne to all of this is the ultimate answers will only come from litigation. That process is expensive, stressful and time consuming. I regret being the bearer of discouraging news and do not mean to sound harsh or negative. My primary aim, however, is to be upfront and realistic with you, and the civil litigation coupled with any administrative (regulatory) disciplinary licensure action is very apt to make for a protracted legal battle.

  3. I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to write back if needed. I shall be signing off soon to attend to some other professional obligations. Please rest assured, however, that I will be sure to check for any updated posts from you when I return to this online forum. I am sorry for this ordeal and frustration, and I truly hope that things look brighter and this matter is resolved appropriately.

 

I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If we can be of any further assistance please free to use our service again. Best wishes for a successful outcome.

 

If my answer has been helpful to you, please click "ACCEPT" so that I may be paid. This is the only way that I will receive compensation for the work performed. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done. Clicking "FEEDBACK" to leave your positive comments is always greatly appreciated.

 

The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response and yes, it was discouraging. You referred me to the CA Business and Professions code however, as I understand it it is referring to home inspectors. Do city and county office inspectors fall under this category? The inspector that was called for is from the city building department. They must sign off on inspection of work completed before the project resumes. If they had signed off on the foundation of the house how is it possible that I can be sued for faulty workmanship completed by a sub-contractor after the whole house has been completed?

 

Thank you.

Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 3 years ago.

Hello again,

 

Thanks for writing back -- good to hear from you.

 

I do ask that you kindly press "Accept" to process my answer.

 

I will be glad to comment further -- please see below.

 

Yours is a three-way legal battle I have witnessed more than once, to say the least. Generally these cases involves a contractor, a sub-contractor (or more than one), and an inspector. Essentially, each ends up pointing at the other and disclaims liability. Truthfully, the only way to answer your question about being sued for faulty workmanship is to see what the discovery and litigation process bears out. That is incredibly frustrating, I know, but it is the way the system grinds along. As for statutes, probably the most relevant provision would be California Public Contract Code § 1104. Basically, though, yes the same principles do apply. I am truly sorry for this situation and can tell you take your work and your professional reputation seriously.

 

I hope that helps a bit more.

 

Take care and thanks again for choosing JustAnswer®!

 

[Please click "Accept" -- this is the only way I get paid for my work and services provided.]

LawHelpNow, Attorney/Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7593
Experience: Relax. Let's work together. Practical solutions.
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