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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27025
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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We have a signed proposal to do electrical wiring for a wine

Customer Question

We have a signed proposal to do electrical wiring for a wine cave. During the process we have been asked to do a lot of "extra" work, most of which we have been paid for. When it came down toward the end of the project, "crunch time", the superintendant did some really strange things. 1) He ordered the wrong type of lights for a particular area and instead of returning them, he had someone put a plate behind them to make them work. This caused us to have to use extra time and material to come up with an anchor fix to hold the lights in place. 2) He instructed us to run our pipes down the middle of the cave floor in a trench, then after this was complete he had us remove that pipe and put pipe in along the side of the cave bottom. This cost us extra time and material. 3) Before the pipes were put together he ordered gravel to be brought in to be put in the trench. Our foreman told him he would have to call it off because we weren't done. He had the gravel brought in anyway and dumped it on and in the pipes. This took extra time to dig under the gravel to remove gravel from our pipes and to run the wire. Now he has "Canceled our contract" because we had a week delay of working on the project. And we didn't get the job done by his original schedule date. He owes us money for extras and says he doesn't. And now says we have to pay to have someone else come in and complete the job. Is he right?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

When you say "original schedule date" is that written in the contract?

Dwayne B. :

Also, did the changes cause the failure to meet the schedule?

Customer:

No date is written in the contract. And the contract is a proposal we sent them and they signed agreeing to have us do the scope of work.

Dwayne B. :

Is the original schedule date actually written anywhere?

Customer:

Superintendent sent an email to the owners to give them a schedule for the entire job and then forwarded it to us the next day. That was in February before all the extra work was requested.

Dwayne B. :

If there are no complaints about the work and the issue is that you couldn't hit a schedule date which wasn't a part of the contract anyway then the supervisor is incorrect.

Customer:

Nothing is specific to us ...It says top out all trades (among other things)

Dwayne B. :

There is no justification for hiring someone else to come in and complete the job nor is there reason for withholding the money.

Dwayne B. :

Is the "supervisor" like the general contractor?

Dwayne B. :

Is this a home or a business?

Customer:

Yes he is acting as one but don't believe he is licensed. It is a wine cave (business)

Dwayne B. :

Does the supervisor work for the business?

Customer:

He emailed that our contract is cancelled as of today and that all money due us has been paid. Even though we have not billed him for all extras or completion of job.

Customer:

The superintendent works for the LLC that owns the Winery

Dwayne B. :

At this point it is pretty obvious that you are going to end up in a lawsuit so it is time to go ahead and get your lawyer and let him respond to everything. He will start writing letters that can be used later as evidence in the case and in addition he can file the mechanics and materialmen's lien for your work.

Customer:

California has SB800 to protect contractors from something like this, but not sure if it has a time limit he has to give us to complete punch list.

Dwayne B. :

My guess is he has gotten into trouble and is now blaming you for the delays.

Dwayne B. :

He likely read something that he thinks applies but he doesn't understand the law.

Dwayne B. :

If you were doing defective work then he could cancel the contract and hire someone to finish ut under your facts that doesn't fit at all.

Dwayne B. :

SB 800 has all kinds of procedures you have to use but you need to start setting this guy up

Customer:

No, in fact he was upset when my husband told him we were not going to bid the next cave job he is doing.

Dwayne B. :

Also, I thought SB 800 dealt with homes only, but I don't do real estate normally, just litigation.

Customer:

I think it is too late to file mechanics lien. Doesn't that have to be done at the beginning of a job?

Dwayne B. :

It is supposed to be but there are some exceptions if changes are made during the job.

Dwayne B. :

And the lawyer may not actually file the MML, they can just threaten it.

Dwayne B. :

Do you have an attorney you use regularly?

Dwayne B. :

Are you still there?

Customer:

No I don't have an attorney. My daughter in law's cousin is a real estate or construction law attorney, but I don't know him...

Dwayne B. :

You really need to go ahead and get a lawyer involved for you. The longer you wait the longer it will be until you get paid.

Dwayne B. :

This guy is trying to get away with something.

Customer:

I am giving you only OK rating only because they assigned me to someone who does not have construction legal experience.

Customer:

Thank you for your help...

Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27025
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
Dwayne B. and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.
Actually I do have construction legal experience. I've represented a number of builders in their business work and in trials. I never did real estate work, except for litigating real estate issues.

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