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More stories about Legal

  • How to Reduce the Risk of Mold Claims

    Mold has been around for millennia, but in recent years public concern about its presence in homes and buildings has metastasized into near hysteria. This has spawned a legal atmosphere in which it's relatively easy for unscrupulous owners to fabricate huge mold lawsuits against contractors.

  • Can Property Owners Sue Subs?

    Some time ago in Colorado, a property owner hired a contractor to construct a building. Not long after it was completed, a heavy snowfall caused the roof to collapse. The property owner did what you would expect him to do: He sued the contractor. But he also sued every sub who had ever set foot on...

  • Defining "Green"

    You probably think that I have been around too long and have seen too many contracts to sign anything containing an important specification that isn't clearly defined. Surely I would never do something as stupid as that, right?

  • Who Pays for a Sub's Negligence?

    I preach endlessly about job-site safety and the importance of regular safety inspections.

  • Issues That Keep Me Up at Night

    I thought I'd celebrate JLC's 25th anniversary by writing about legal issues that have been bothering me — and probably you — for the past 25 years. Someone else might have a different list of complaints, but hey, it's my column, so here's mine.

  • Excluding Work From a Contract

    Most residential construction disputes happen because the contractor and the homeowner have different expectations about how a job will be handled.

  • The Minuses of Cost Plus

    My observation has been that customers like cost-plus contracts. Even though a cost-plus job and a fixed-price one cost the same — in theory.

  • Arbitration Beats Going to Court - in Most Cases

    I advise clients to stick to arbitration for two reasons: The judge and jury may not have the expertise to understand the dispute, and litigation takes more time.

  • Why Your Contract Should Contain an Indemnification Clause

    Say a GC signs a contract to build a fence for a homeowner. After the job is done, the homeowner hits the fence with his car but does not repair the damage. A couple of weeks later the fence falls on a neighbor who is walking down the sidewalk. Who is liable for the neighbor's injury?

  • Beware Mistakes That Bind

    Here's the scenario: A contractor hires a new estimator and he makes a bid on a remodeling job. Unfortunately, the bid is way off the mark. By the time the contractor notices the mistake, the customer has signed the contract and given him a check, which he's deposited.