Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
41 - 49 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,079 Posts
I don't know how things work in your heck's of the woods, but here there is a separate electrical permit and the only person can pull it is licensed electrical contractor and he has to put his number and seal it with his stamp, same goes for plumbing.
If same goes for your state, I hope you not gonna get rimmed out for not pulling electrical permit, and I assume without it, electrical work you did wasn't inspected.

Good luck

If there was no permit pulled I don't know how an inspection could have been done.

I think the no permit deal is why they drug cwatbay into the suit.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,247 Posts
Oh wow.

Wow.

I've seen the court system up close and personal, and I can assure you, while this is a lovely and trusting sentiment, it is not an accurate statement.

It's like people who say, "Truth is an absolute defense to slander."

Well, yes it is, but do you really have $10,000 or $20,000 to stand behind your truthful but potentially slanderous statement? Because if you slander someone, and you get sued for slander, it could easily cost you that much to defend yourself in court.

And there's a good possibility that you could lose that lawsuit, in which case you'd be liable for damages too.

If it's a bench trial (where the judge presides) you've got better odds of a good outcome, but with a jury trial, well, that can be pretty bleak.




Perhaps the law is different in your state, but I have dealt with lawsuits in Virginia and Illinois, and I can tell you, there is no requirement that a customer contact you prior to filing a lawsuit.

These things can literally come OUT OF THE BLUE.

Above all, I would be very hesitant to tell ANYONE to visit the plaintiff in person, unless they had consulted with a lawyer FIRST, and reviewed that plan with a competent attorney.
I will re-write my statement and make what I am saying more grammatically correct because people can sue anyone for any reason.

As for visiting the plaintiff, I disagree and think people believe in some type of myth that all communications should be cut off as soon as a lawsuit is filed and only attorneys should speak to each other about the case. Maybe if you murdered someone! I believe people should make every effort to resolve issues without an attorney. Resolving this case could take as little as a few minutes and everyone wins in many ways if it is settled before going to court. Wait to go to court when emotions are running much higher and the plaintiff will pay dearly for being stubborn.

In the past 40 years I've probably had 100 times when I was threatened with lawsuits and I've been actually sued about 6 times. I always settled with every customer before going to court and out if the 2 cases I lost one case for $450 and one for $125. You can bet every penny you have that had I cut off communications and let an attorney speak on my behalf I would have gone to court more than 100 times.

Recently, a plumber who was a friend of mine was asked by a customer to pay $450 for a toilet flange that he missed on a contract. The plumber called me and asked what he should do and I told him to pay the $450. He was cheap and refused. So, the customer sewer him in court for $1400 and the customer won the case. This is the reason you always want to settle before going to court.

After the customer won the case for $1400 I told the plumber to try to settle with the customer for less money and the plumber still refused to talk to the customer. So, here is another reason why you want to talk to the plaintiff. I personally called the customer like and apologized for his plumber's actions. After I won over the customer I calmly explained his options to take the case back to court within 30 days (can't think of what it is called right now). I explained that there was a chance that he would win, get the judgment entirely removed and he would prefer to make a settlement. The customer immediately agreed to accept $600. I personally wrote the check, delivered it to the customer and got repaid by the plumber.

Talk to the plaintiff and at least you know in your heart that you made a good attempt to resolve the issue and this is what society and the courts would like to see. "People settling their problems without the courts" When did it become a law that people should not try to settle their problems just because someone file in court?

As for not taking out a permit, this could be a problem, but I'm betting that this case is not about the permit. I would call the customer to find out. Suppose, this is about the permit. I would ask the customer what the problem is and if it is about the permit I would ask the customer what he would like from me. If the customer wants all his money back I would try to settle for half. If he insists on getting all his money back I would write tell him that I am writing the check as we are speaking and I will deliver the check in 20 minutes. This way, I save hundreds of hours worrying for nothing because if it is about the permit then I'll bet the contractor will have to give back at least 50% of the money he was paid because I've seen this too many times and many times the contractor has to give back all the money.

"NOT ALL MONEY IS GOOD MONEY" When you have to worry, lose sleep, lose time, lose weight and spend money for an attorney then just give the damn money back because its is not worth it. Meet with the plaintiff. He may not want one thing from the contractor.

I would also call the plaintiff's insurance company and speak with their attorney. Almost every time, their attorney will speak with the defendant and tell what the case is about.

I am not an attorney, but I have extensive experience with lawsuits and was the lead plaintiff in class actions lawsuits for $800 million, $50 million and we won both cases. In both cases, my attorneys and I went to lunch and dinners with the defendant's attorneys and they talked so much about the case it was like both sides were helping each other. The insurance companies were paying the attorneys and all their expenses for both sides and both sides were milking the insurance companies for every penny. Depositions were actually fun because the attorneys on both sides kept telling jokes to each other. It was easy to see that neither side was making an effort to prove anything because the writing was already on the wall. They inadvertently admitted buy there carefree actions that the defendants were guilty. I was staying in hotels in Chicago that were $600 a night, complements of the defendant's insurance companies. And... no, even though we won both cases I did not get all that money because it was distributed on a sliding scale to all the class-action plaintiffs and in both cases the defendants were insured for only $50 million.

Always try to settle without an attorney so you don't end up feeling like you've been knocked on the ground and run over by a herd of cattle (or something like that).

If this contractor can't talk to the customer himself, for whatever reason, then ask a friend or someone who is quick witted to speak with the customer. Contact me and I would love to speak with this customer and try to resolve the problem. I believe that I have the ability to ask the right questions, get the customer to speak and then calmly explain how I understand his concerns and then explain our options in a way he understands and is not offended. Once the customer understands that we have a set of options that can't be changed he will usually agree that we have to meet half way because he may lose his case, or lose a large portion of what he is trying to get. The only way you can find out is by speaking with the customer without the threat of an attorney.

Anyway! I think I am off the track and forget that it is the insurance company that filed the lawsuit. In that case, insurance companies name everyone, anyways, but I would still contact both the plaintiff's attorney and the customer. No other way around it! There is no harm in asking! Period!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,510 Posts
Insurance company lawyers work for the insurance company only. Its there job to minimize the insurance companies pay out. They will name anybody else they can. In hopes that those named will cave in and offer a settlement.

Since the pool company isn't named. Good chance this isn't the first time the landscape company worked off a permit pulled by the pool company.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Regardless of what is said, slander in is hard, near impossible to prove in court. (See people v. Larry flint, the only case I can think of where slander was proven) It has to be a malicious, false or otherwise defamatory statement, that the said party has gone out of their way to make to anyone with a set of ears.

Also it almost completely contradicts Americas freedom of speech laws. (I'm Canadian. Not sure on that one)

In Canada no one except a licensed electrician can pull an electrical permit. So, up here, you'd be up chit creek. That being said, my advice is to talk to the lawyers, and your landscape guy. I'd start by telling him that he's on the hook for anything you'd be forced to pay, if you cannot be removed from the suit.

Opinion is covered by freedom of speech. I can call whomever I want a dirty wood butcher, as long as I don't go around town doing so.

I'd counter sue the landscaper and homeowner for defamation of character, as well as filing a frivolous lawsuit.

I'd also never preform work for that Landscaper ever again.

Just my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter · #46 ·
I understand the permit process. I have files full of permits because we pull them all the time.

However, some cities do not require a separate permit for each part of a job if it can be covered under one permit. For instance, in some of these small towns, the landscaper can pull a permit for landscaping that involves a small amount of plumbing and electrical. The city does not require that each trade pull a separate one.

As part of the general construction on the project, we modified a circuit that was taken out by the landscaper --- what is was, was a subpanel was taken out, and, the two breakers feeding it, were modified to supply power to two separate circuits. The two circuits were: outlets for the BBQ and an outlet for the waterfall timer.

Nothing seemed unusual about this job. The client was fine with the landscaper and the permit process, and, understood whatever permits the landscaper said he had.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,079 Posts
I understand the permit process. I have files full of permits because we pull them all the time.

However, some cities do not require a separate permit for each part of a job if it can be covered under one permit. For instance, in some of these small towns, the landscaper can pull a permit for landscaping that involves a small amount of plumbing and electrical. The city does not require that each trade pull a separate one.

As part of the general construction on the project, we modified a circuit that was taken out by the landscaper --- what is was, was a subpanel was taken out, and, the two breakers feeding it, were modified to supply power to two separate circuits. The two circuits were: outlets for the BBQ and an outlet for the waterfall timer.

Nothing seemed unusual about this job. The client was fine with the landscaper and the permit process, and, understood whatever permits the landscaper said he had.


You are lucky.
Here in NJ you have to have a separate permit for everything so the town can make sure they collect as much money as they possibly can from every job.:laughing:
 

·
Registered
Remodel
Joined
·
30,190 Posts
CWATBAY,
Once I got rid of the lawyers, I have won every action, including many times when the GC or owner said "go away, we'll keep the final pmt as our discount." I always demand a jury trial. Never arb or small claims. I've conducted two jury trials to happy verdicts + many other actions.
Marc Crawley 510-531-4548
Cool!
 
41 - 49 of 49 Posts
Top