Guidelines for Residential Construction
Building or remodeling a home is a large financial and emotional undertaking whether you are building your dream home or rebuilding your home after the devastating San Diego fires. Everyone has heard horror stories of homeowners being taken advantage of by unscrupulous or inexperienced contractors. The process is complicated and even if you hire a reputable contractor there can be delays, cost overruns and litigation. After years of representing homeowners, contractors and material suppliers, McCullogh and Associates knows that it is better to prevent future problems then to allow problems to develop resulting in costly litigation, a delayed construction project and cost overruns. Problems can be avoided by thoroughly investigating potential contractors, careful drafting and review of written contracts and using sound oversight procedures during construction.


Rule Changes that May Affect You (2007)
AB 2914
Among other things, extends the sunset date of January 1, 2007 for architecture limited liability partnerships (LLP) and foreign LLPs to January 1, 2012.


Estate Planning

Everyone should have an estate plan to pass more on to your beneficiaries and avoid the oftentimes unjust consequences of the probate system. For example:

  • Elvis Presley left a $10.2 million estate. However, his probate court costs were $7.2 million leaving only 28% of his estate for his heirs.
  • Marilyn Monroe, who left an estate over $1 million, which took 18 years to probate, leaving just $101,000 for her heirs after lawyers and others took their fees.
  • J. Paul Getty’s estate has paid over $40 million in probate costs to lawyers and others.
  • Penny pincher John D. Rockefeller’s probate expenses cost 64% of his huge estate.


A Message to General Contractors from the California Supreme Court

The rule in California is that a contractor may not sue to collect compensation for performance of “any act of contract” requiring a licensing without alleging that he or she was duly licensed “at all times during the performance of that act or contract.” Thus, if a general contractor is not licensed at any point during its performance of the contracting work, the general contractor is precluded from suing to collect for the services it provided.

Avoid Being Sued for Unfair Competiton Under California's Business & Professions Code
§17200 and What To Do If You Are
In the early twentieth century, it was common practice for businesses to mislead consumers through false and misleading advertising. Some consumers identified the practice as “baiting and switching” as well as other names. In 1993, the California Legislature enacted California’s Competition Law to protect consumer from businesses that churned profits through false and misleading advertising. It allowed public prosecutors and private plaintiffs, acting for themselves or on behalf of the general public, to file actions against businesses to stop unfair competition or false advertising.

Reasonable Attorney Fee Awards

The “American Rule” with regard to attorney fee awards requires litigants to pay their own attorney fees. (See C.C.P. §1021.) However, if allowed by statute, contract, or other agreement, the trial court may award the prevailing party attorney fees. Other exceptions also exist such as the private attorney general, substantial benefit and common fund exceptions.