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January 2012 Archives

A 2012 Update on New California Laws that May Impact the Construction Industry

In 2011 the California legislature passed and the governor approved new legislation that will impact the construction industry. And some previously approved laws will be coming into effect in 2012. These modifications include several relatively high impact changes.

Can a project owner sue a contractor for slander of title on the basis that the contractor's mechanic's lien lacks merit? The answer is no

Project owners facing mechanic's lien claims they believe lack merit will often threaten to retaliate with a slander of title action against the claimant. But the law generally does not allow a slander claim against a lien claimant, even if the claim lacks merit. In a recent appeals court case a project owner sought to have the court create a lack of merit exception to this rule. The court refused to do so, instead confirming that even unmeritorious lien claims are privileged acts and not subject to a slander claim.

Have You Given Proper Notice of The Delay? California Appellate Court Permits Assessment of Liquidated Damages Due to Contractor's Failure To Give Notice of Delay.

In a recent case entitled Greg Opinski Construction v. City of Oakdale, 199 Cal.App.4th 1107 (2011) a California Appellate Court held that when a construction contract requires notice be given as a condition for getting an extension of time and notice is not given, the contractor cannot later claim that the delay was caused by the owner. This is noteworthy since it refutes prior precedent that allowed a contractor to assert that the liquidated damages should not be assessed since the public entity delayed the project during a period of owner caused delay.

Are you Prequalified to be Awarded Small Public Projects not Subject to Formal Bidding Requirements?

As contractors know, public works projects must be awarded via a public, competitive bidding process (excepting those where expenditures will be $5,000 or less). But in 1983 California legislators passed the California Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act ("Act"), allowing some smaller projects to bypass the formal bidding process and be awarded either by negotiated contract, or via an informal bidding process. The Act also allows some particularly small projects to be self-performed by public agency forces.

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