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George William Wolff

George Wolff’s Answers

402 total

  • Arbitrator in case continues to act unethical... What to do?

    Can you motion to change the arbitrator? This arbitrator yells at me during hearings, doesnt take into consideration Plaintiff's written or oral arguments. Tells me to "shut up - stop talking" during hearings, and most of all he threatens to have...

    George’s Answer

    Bias or unfairness in the proceedings is one of the possible grounds on which an award can be vacated by a court, but this is typically very hard to do and you would have the burden of proof..

    If the proceedings are still ongoing you may want to have a court reporter present to document what you believe to be misconduct by the arbitrator, or try to document prejudice or bias in some other way.

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  • Hello. This case is related to a contract dispute on a kitchen remodeling project.

    I would like to know whether I would have a favorable outcome in a contract dispute with a vendor that I entered a contract with. In a nutshell, the vendor didn't meet the deadline to complete the project as agreed and was non-responsive to my vo...

    George’s Answer

    Unless the contract so states, you don't necessarily have the right to cancel it if performance is late.

    You might have the right to damages, if you can prove the delay caused you damages.

    The demand to be paid for the cabinets ordered seems reasonable as it can take 6-8 weeks lead time to get custom cabinets.

    Also once you fire the contractor others may be reluctant to work with you

    Consult with a construction attorney for advice based on the contract terms and proveable facts.

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  • Can a material supplier file a mechanics lien for material that was picked up instead of delivered to the job site?

    I work in the Lumber industry, I had a customer tell me that I couldn't file a lien for materials that he will called at the lumber yard, i could only file for materials if they were delivered. i'm trying to find out if he is correct

    George’s Answer

    The question is not who picked up or delivered the materials, but where they were used.

    If the materials were used on a specific project, then you have lien rights, unless it was in public works project, in which case you may have Stop Notice or Payment Bond rights.

    However, unless you furnished materials directly to the owner of the project, you must have timely served a preliminary notice, recorded the lien within 90 days (or sometimes less) of "completion", and file suit within 60 days of recording the lien.

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  • Can I sue a car dealership for lien selling my vehicle

    I had a truck at downtown Ford they did very minor work on it.they new I move but they had my phone number,i talk to service department quite often and told them to order a computer for the truck because they said it needed a new one,never heard b...

    George’s Answer

    To legally sell the vehicle they would have to notify the DMV, who would send you a notice by certified mail to the address shown on your vehicle registration.

    Did you change the address on your vehicle registration when you moved?

    If they received more at auction than you owed them for their work, you are supposed to be paid what was left over.

    I would send them an email or certified letter asking them to prove that the sale was done in accordance with the law, and for all documents supporting this and that the auction was conducted properly, and regarding the amount paid at the auction.

    If they cannot or will not provide this information, I would promptly contact an attorney as you could possibly have a right to recover damages for an unlawful sale.

    Obviously, leaving a vehicle in the repair shop for an extended period of time like this is not a good idea!!

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  • If the hole were to collapse, would you as a contractor be covered?

    In a contract, the owner (municipality) put that the contractor may encounter difficulty while drilling. The verbiage in the contract is as follows: “Difficult pile installation is anticipated due to the presence of soft bay mud overlying den...

    George’s Answer

    Typically the owner provides a soil report for this type of job before bids are received.

    If conditions on site are materially different than in their soils report or that were observable on a diligent pre-bid site inspection you can file an extra work/changed conditions claim upon discovery of the unforeseen condition and before doing the work.

    It may also be required to file an RFI under those circumstance and to thoroughly document the existance of the unforeseen condition with photos, soil samples etc

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  • Any expert could help me overturn a binding arbitration award in CSLB?

    I had a landscaping project with a California CSLB licensed contractor. On the contract, we had agreed several stage of installation payment. During the project, the contractor delivered bad quality work which was not the same as contract (with d...

    George’s Answer

    It is very difficult to overturn an arbitration award absent some proof of fraud, bias, unfair procedures, etc.

    However, there is usually a short window of time to try to seek a correction of the award where the arbitrator has made an obvious error in calculation or in naming the parties, etc.

    However, if the contractor was not properly licensed for the work, had workers but failed to carry workers comp, etc, it can sometimes be possible to convince a court to refuse to enforce the award.

    You need to get legal advice on these issues SOON or you may lose your rights, as the time periods for correcting or attacking the award are VERY SHORT!

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  • If we shut our S Corporation down are we still under that umbrella if as lawsuit arises from several years back

    we are a waterproofing contractor and want to shut down our S Corp. with the state of Calfironia but we are wondering if a lawsuit from a previous job from a year ow so back comes up are we still shielded by the corp veil or would we now be person...

    George’s Answer

    Corporate officers and employees of a construction company, especially RMOs and RMEs, are typically personally liable for negligent construction work they performed, supervised or directed, even though they worked for a duly organized corporation or other legal entity.

    This is still true even if the corporation has been properly dissolved or has declared bankruptcy.

    As another responder indicated, there is also possible liability as an "alter ego" for the owners and operators of a corporation if certain corporate formalities have not been complied with.

    The best protection against this liability is to maintain a good liability insurance policy in place during all times your business is in operation, and keep records of those policies for ten years or more, even though the business has been legally dissolved.

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  • Supplier selected all components of system; client sues contractor for one item from the selection; Who is at fault?

    We are a contractor. Supplier distributing a specific brand provided us a system of 5 items based on our client's and our own request. (This client wanted a specific system from this particular brand and manufacturer). I attracted the attentio...

    George’s Answer

    In hindsight it probably would have been best to send an RFI asking the owner or architect to make this decision, rather than making it yourself.

    However, if the component is not causing them any injury or damage I don't see where you could have liability, unless there are other facts or reasons for changing the component that were not stated in your question

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  • Is a Surety required to notify a Principal of a claim against the Principal's Contractors Bond?

    I have been contacted by third party that informed that there were claims against my old corporation's Contractors Bond. The claims apparently occurred in 2014, the same year my corporation was dissolved. I was never notified about any claims on t...

    George’s Answer

    Typically the surety notifies you before paying out on any claims, to see if you have any defenses or if you want to defend the surety, but in this case they may not have been able to contact you due to the dissolution.

    You still may be liable to indemnify the surety if they tried in good to notify you or your company

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  • Should I accept client's request for work done without city permit?

    I’m a general contractor and on occasions, I have clients asking to do work without city permits. What issues might happen if I accept these type of projects? Any way to have client sign a release of liability? Thank you.

    George’s Answer


    It is illegal for you to do this, and your license could be revoked or suspended if you do this.

    Also the client might sue you later for doing this.

    Tell the client it is illegal, it's in his interest to have city inspections, and if there is work done without permits he has to disclose this fact to buyers, which could affect the sale price.

    Also, if the city or the buyer discovers this even years later, the work would have to be done with permits to the new code.

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