Construction litigation matters in Boston and throughout Massachusetts often occur as a result of contract disputes or disagreements between two or more parties involved in a construction project. These litigation issues can affect homeowners, property developers, property owners, contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, municipalities and a variety of other parties. Such cases can delay construction, lead to financial losses and hurt businesses.
Types of Construction Litigation Cases
Construction litigation cases can include allegations of:
- Breach of contract. One of the most common construction litigation claim one for breach of contract. That is, when one party has violated that the terms and conditions of a construction contract. Whether such a violation occurs because of construction delays, violations of building codes, material failures or other issues, breach of contract disputes can be complex and require a strong knowledge of contract law and construction law.
- Nonpayment and collection issues. A contractor who supplies labor and/or materials at a property may place a lien on the property if they are not paid. The ability of a contractor to file a mechanic’s lien is limited by Massachusetts’ law in terms of the deadline to record the appropriate documentation at the registry of deeds and filing a complaint with the appropriate state court. In the event that the contractor does not pay the subcontractor, the subcontractor may file a lien on the subject property thereby potentially subjecting the property owner to litigation to resolve the matter Collection issues and nonpayment issues can quickly become complex, in part because there are so many parties involved.
- Fraud. Construction fraud is rampant and can be costly to property developers, owners, contractors and other parties. Fraud can occur in a number of situations and in a variety of ways.
The following are some common construction fraud schemes:
- A person who is not a contractor, poses as a “contractor” and promises to provide work, asks for a down payment, and after receiving the down payment never provides any work.
- A person who is not a contractor, poses as a “contractor” by using a false business entity name, promises to provide work, asks for a down payment, and after receiving the down payment has someone else (unknown to the homeowner) commence work at the project – the work provided does not comply with the applicable laws, regulations, zoning code, or building code. The property owner is saddled with addition costs to correct the work, complete the project, and their ability to collect damages from the “contractor” is hindered by the use of the false entity and potential inability to identify the “contractor.”
- A contractor promises to provide work, asks for a down payment and then commences work at the project. The contractor then claims to have insufficient funds to proceed with the project. At that point, the contractor either abandons the job, keeping all down payment monies or receives more deposit monies. The key to this scheme is that the contractor uses the security deposits from one project to fund other projects – similar to a “Ponzi Scheme” (i.e. new monies are used to pay prior obligations, debts, material costs, etc…).
- A contractor promises to replace or remove building materials and in fact does not. Thereafter, the property owner or developer are billed for work not performed.
Getting Advocacy for Your Construction Litigation Case in Boston
Not two construction litigation cases are the same. Construction litigation cases require legal representation at the negotiating table or in court to ensure that your interests are protected. If you feel your interests are being threatened or your rights are being violated, it’s important to act fast and to contact the experienced construction attorneys at Calabrese Law Associates as soon as possible.
Our firm’s construction trial attorneys in Boston, Massachusetts can review the situation and your claim, tell you whether you have a case and offer advice and support as you try to resolve the issue. Even with the best written contract, disputes and litigation can arise. When they do, an experienced attorney can be a powerful asset on your side.
If you’re looking for a construction trial attorney in Boston, Massachusetts or the surrounding area, contact Calabrese Law Associates for a free consultation. Our law firm is dedicated to construction, business contracts and related practice areas.
We have worked on construction litigation issues arising from disputes regarding commercial property, industrial real estate, residential homes and more. We have worked with property developers, homeowners, homeowners’ associations, municipalities and a range of parties.
We understand the unique concerns in construction dispute issues, and we work with engineers as well as other professionals to prove your claim. Contact us today if we can be a source of support and representation for your construction litigation.
- General Contractor Litigation
- The general contractor is the person or entity that manages, coordinates, and oversees a construction project. General contractors are responsible for getting the job done properly and on time, and they often delegate different phases of projects to subcontractors, who report to them. The advantage of hiring a general contractor is they can provide a “big picture” perspective that you cannot receive from someone who specializes in one area, such as plumber or electrician. A general contractor also can save you time by acting as your onsite construction project manager.
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- Subcontractor Litigation
- Subcontractors are contractors hired on construction jobs to perform specialized tasks such as hardwood floors, tiles, plumbing, and electrical work. Subcontractors are hired by the general contractor in charge of the construction project, not the property owner. Whereas, the general contractor is the one who has a contract with the property owner. Although property owners do not have a “contract” with the subcontractor, the subcontractor still owes the property owner a duty to perform the work properly.
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- Mechanic Lien Litigation
- A mechanic lien allows a contractor to “secure” a debt owed to them by placing a lien to real estate; in theory this is similar to how a mortgage allows a bank to “secure” a loan debit. The Massachusetts mechanic’s lien laws essentially offer general contractors a means of collecting payment for labor and/or materials in cases where they have not been paid by the property owner or leasee. Also, in Massachusetts subcontractor can place mechanic’s liens on real estate as well.
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