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The case involved a subcontractor who signed a contract, began working on the project, and then discovered he had allowed his license to lapse. He immediately filed the necessary papers to get relicensed, but he had already done part of the work while unlicensed.
Can't sue if unlicensed. Like most states, California has a law that prevents unlicensed contractors from suing customers for payment. When the sub wasn't paid, he sued the contractor to the tune of more than a million dollars.