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Douglas Scott Reiser

Douglas Reiser’s Answers

114 total


  • Can I file a lien on a business property after landscaping project failed?

    After spending sever thousand dollars on a large water feature it started leaking. I contact the company that put it in- Clear creek who said it was not known why this happened but they would take care of it. A few weeks later they went out of b...

    Douglas’s Answer

    I would agree with Shawn, above. A landscaping contractor is required by law to maintain a contractor's bond. landscaping contractor might qualify as a specialty contractor, but most will simply take the general contractor registration - which requires them to maintain 12,000.00 bond.

    You can check the status of the bond by

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  • Mechanics lien on condo complex in Washington state

    did work for siding company they got thrown off site by General contractor / no one was paid (40 workers) Can I file a mechanics lien against the condo association? Work was done on less than half of the 300+ units. Notice to lien would go to wh...

    Douglas’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    This is a great question. Certainly, a laborer is entitled to file a lien against a piece of property for payment of its wages incurred in improving the property. Laborers are also exempt from providing notice of your right to file a lien (see RCW 60.04.031). The claim of lien has to be filed within 90 days from the completion of labor.

    A single claim can aggregate a number of Grantees (people having a claim against a property). So, it would be helpful to organize the workers if they all worked within the past 90 days.

    A claim against a condo can be very tricky because of the fact that there are likely to be a number of different subdivisions of property, each with their own tax identification number and legal description. But typically a claimant can raise its claim against the common structure.

    I would suggest sitting down with counsel to discuss how to proceed. Best of luck to you all!

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  • Liability for sales tax on remodel/construction work in Washington state

    I'm a homeowner in Seattle. Last year I used some contractors to do some substantial electrical and plumbing re-work on my home. We agreed on a fixed price for the work that included some materials and their labor. I paid them in full partly via c...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Both answers are correct. The purchaser can be liable for the sales tax, but the provider has to collect the tax. The state is not likely to come after the purchaser of construction services, especially if they can collect the tax from the builder's bond.

    The debate will be between your contractor and yourself, as to whether your contract amount was "all-inclusive" or "tax-added." I presume that since this debate has not reared its head until now, the contractor did not adequately disclose that tax would be added to the lump sum. If that is the case, and its not clearly stated in a written agreement, the responsibility for those taxes would be on the contractor.

    Best of luck!

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  • How do I sue a contractor for faulty construction?

    I hired a contractor to build a new stairway & install decking/trim on my front porch. Construction didn't pass inspection, decking products weren't installed per mfg instructions, & damage was done to framing & concealed under the decking. The st...

    Douglas’s Answer

    If the contractor performed faulty construction, you can bring a claim against him under contract law and the bond statute, RCW 18.27.040.

    Since he has a 12,000 bond, you will entitled to recover against him up to that amount. That will include both the principal debt, your costs and attorneys' fees. Thus, if it costs $6,000.00 to fix, you have bond coverage for another $6,000 in costs and fees. This is important when trying to figure out if you will have to come out of pocket to pay an attorney. Assuming that the contractor defaults, you have a good chance of recovering all of your fees in the above scenario. If however, the damage cost is more like $10,000.00, then you have less of a chance.

    Without getting into whether you will win, its important to dive into whether the contractor actively suggests that he is not at fault, or whether he has simply abandoned his business. If its the latter, then you stand a good chance at default and you can run the numbers as per the above. If he is an on-going concern and defends against the action, you are almost assured to have to eat some of the legal costs if you rely on the bond for payment.

    A bond is a very valuable item to a contractor. Without it, the contractor cannot do business. A claim temporary sends a contractor into a tailspin, where they have to show the bonding company that they have the means to cover the dispute amount, or risk losing the bond. So remember that if you file a claim with a good basis and the contractor is interested in maintaining a good relationship with the bonding company, then you are probably in a scenario where the contractor can afford to pay your claim.

    I would suggest that you sit down with a construction attorney that handles bond claims and discuss your options. Best of luck to you!

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  • Should i pay a professional $2000 to get me an LLC for my personal online business or should i do it my self??

    im starting an online business through Impact KNowledge Institute and they are telling me that i need an LLC. They want me to pay them $2000 for them to do it for me. i just want to know if i could go through someone else and get it done cheaper o...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Its probably way too much. It just depends on how much work they are doing. If they are procuring an EIN, filing a tax election, filing Articles of Organization and also putting together an LLC Operating Agreement between yourself and the owners, then its not terrible. That said, if you don't need a complicated LLC agreement - or don't need one at all because you are solo - then its way too high.

    You can get a qualified business attorney for much less. Offices like mine will offer you a flat rate for that type of work. Best of luck to you!

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  • Can a business in Washington State cash a check that says "Paid in Full" and still collect the rest?

    In the business we have, people think that if they don't like how something was done, they can just put "paid in full" on the check and we won't be legally able to collect anymore money on their account. I need to know if this is true.

    Douglas’s Answer

    The top two answers are correct, but they assume that you have a written agreement for the underlying obligation that lays out the compensation. If you simply performed under an oral agreement, and the value of consideration (what you are paid) is up in the air, this gets a bit murky.

    I would always advise clients to be extremely cautious in accepting such a payment. The accord part of accord and satisfaction can arguably be determined tacitly (silently) by the recipient of the check cashing it. Its even worse if the sender sends the check with a letter stating that they are issuing the check as a proposal to settle or complete its obligations to pay.

    Be very cautious and contact an attorney to discuss how to prevent this in the future.

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  • How enforable are employment non compete clauses in the state of Washington ?

    I was just let go by one company as a sales person and imediately hired by another company . The company that let me go has contacted me and has claimed I signed a non comptete which I do not recall signing .

    Douglas’s Answer

    Non-compete agreements are enforceable in Washington. There are limitations on the geographic and time restrictions that might curtail the level of enforcement. If you search in this Q&A forum, you will find a number of similar questions about enforceability that I, and others have answered.

    The first thing that you need to do is get a copy of the agreement. They need to show you in order to enforce it. If you did in fact sign it, you need to question whether it was given to you as a condition for original employment, or given to you after you started. If it was given to you after you started, you must have been provided additional benefits (raise, bonus, training, etc.) in order to be bound by the covenant.

    Even if it was timely given, you must consider whether the scope of geographic restriction and time restriction are fair considering the marketplace, client interaction and the type of training you were given. These are all factors that a judge will consider when deciding if the agreement is fair. Finally, being fired/let go does not in itself disturb enforcement of the agreement, but it does certainly help your case in a fairness argument. Courts are reluctant to prevent someone from working, especially when they are not given the option by the restricting party.

    Get a copy of the agreement and contact an attorney to discuss. Best of luck to you!

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  • What options are there to deal with a subcontractor who has not honored the contract?

    My elderly mother signed a contract for exterior painting services. Upon arrival to pressure wash the house, the painter requested 1/2 (and she paid) which was $4000. She did so assuming that the painting would begin the following week (accordin...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Simply put if the contractor agreed in writing to a specific start and/or completion date, and failed to comply with the obligation, then it is in breach of contract. At this juncture, you are probably justified in terminating the contractor if you have provided notice of the breach and no effort has been made to cure the defect.

    You need to be aware of the risks that the contractor might file a lien against the home for the alleged value of services that it believes are unpaid. The contractor must have had your mother sign a Notice to Customer under RCW 18.27.114 to do so. If it has not, any lien threats are simply that - a threat.

    Since your mother is out such a small sum, she can elect to proceed in Superior Court against the contractor and its bond. A specialty contractor is required to carry a 6000.00 bond in this state. The bond claimant can recover its loss plus its legal costs and attorneys fees.

    I would suggest contacting a construction attorney and having a consultation. Best of luck to you!

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  • Where to get information about whether my LLC is partnership or corporation

    I want to confirm whether my LLC is partnership or corporation. I called SOS in Washington state but was told that there is no such information in their document. Can anyone tell where I can get such information? Appreciate so much!

    Douglas’s Answer

    The Secretary of State has to have classified you as one or other when they accepted the Articles. Have you checked the website search for the name of your company? The Washington SOS formation system uses a form for each entity, so its impossible to simply not be classified unless you filed as a partnership.

    If that does not work, then I would look over the Articles and then check the form filed with the IRS.

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  • Can I file a Construction Lien if all I have is a verbal agreement to do the work but have not been paid for that work?

    Electrical Work performed at restaraunt at the request of owner, verbal agreement made over phone, given access to restaraunt after hours to do the work by the owner.

    Douglas’s Answer

    The short answer is yes, as long as you are timely. Katie is right that a RCW 18.27.114 Notice to Customer is required for commercial work between 1K and 60K, if you were hired directly by the owner. There is virtually no way around providing this notice.

    If the notice was given, you have 90 days from the final date that you performed work or delivered materials in order to file your lien. Best of luck to you!

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