header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 22
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
grave marker


Commentary by Carl Kanowsky, Esq.
| Friday, Mar 8, 2013
Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

George and Fred had been friends and neighbors for 18 years. George had a reputation in the ‘hood as the “handy man.”

He had worked for a number of years for a general contractor, doing all sorts of jobs, from plumbing to designing and installing outdoor barbecues and decks.

So when George announced that he was going to open his own construction business, Fred was enthusiastic.

“That’s great,” he said. “I have a lot to do in my backyard. Will you be doing landscape work?”

The next day, Fred and George got together at Fred’s house to develop exactly what George would be doing. They agreed on a $50,000 contract to build a new patio with a built-in barbecue. This included labor and materials. It looked like George’s future as a contractor was bright.

At the same time, he’d signed up to take the license exam put on by the California State Contractors License Board. Given the test date and the bureaucratic red tape, he figured he’d have a license in about three months, which would be about two months after he started his work for Fred.

George approached Fred and explained the licensing situation. Fred told him not to worry, that he would still pay George the full contract price, and urged George to get started.

George began assembling a team and meeting with city officials to get the necessary permits. He also bought some of the goods for the job, such as decking material and the barbecue.

George started actual labor on the job seven weeks after his meeting at Fred’s house. About six weeks after that, he got his contractor’s license. All was looking rosy.

Fred had already paid George $17,000 for the materials and an additional $5,000 for labor when he became dissatisfied with the quality of George’s work and how long the process was taking. Things got ugly between the two men. George walked off the job and Fred refused to pay any more money.

When the impasse failed to resolve, George decided to sue Fred for what Fred still owed. George was aghast when his attorney said Fred had cross-complained against George.

In the filing, Fred said not only did he not owe George any more money, but also that George had to give back everything Fred had already paid because George was not a licensed contractor for the entire life of the contract.

George couldn’t believe it. He’d told Fred about the licensing issue, and Fred had encouraged him to begin work without it, promising to pay despite the lack of the license.

If you think George was surprised by Fred’s lawsuit, he almost had a coronary when the judge ruled in Fred’s favor. The judge ordered George to pay back everything to Fred, even the money for the decking and the barbecue.

George told his attorney to appeal the judgment. The attorney offered to do so, but told him about a recent appellate court decision with similar facts going against the contractor.

In Alatriste v. Cesar’s Exterior Designs Inc., Esaul Alatriste, a San Diego man, hired his friend Cesar to do some home remodeling work. The job was to pay almost $100,000. Cesar didn’t have a contractor’s license, but his son was taking the test, so he hoped the business would be fully licensed soon. Alatriste knew all of this but hired Cesar to do the work anyway, promising to pay him despite the lack of a license.

Then, just as what happened between Fred and George, Alatriste fired Cesar, owing him tens of thousands of dollars.

Alatriste then sued Cesar to 1) make a determination that he didn’t owe Cesar any more money, and 2) force Cesar to return everything Alatriste had already paid, including money for materials.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Business & Professions Code section 7031 is a harsh reality lesson for unlicensed contractors. If they perform work that requires a license that they do not have, they do not get to keep any of the money they’ve been paid, including money for materials that the homeowner now has installed at the house, such as plants, trees or barbecues.

The rationale: “The rule was essential to effectuate the important public policy of deterring licensing violations and ensuring that all contractors are licensed.”

 

 

Carl Kanowsky is an attorney in Santa Clarita. He can be reached at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Visit him online at www.kanowskylaw.com.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, May 20, 2024
Whether you’re exploring the trails in our vast open spaces, enjoying time in any of our 38 parks or simply driving through the community, Santa Clarita stands out from the rest.
Thursday, May 16, 2024
April has always been one of my favorite months because year after year, it’s the sign that baseball is officially back. As a longtime Dodger fan, I have fond memories of piling into the family Volkswagen with my brothers and parents for a day spent at Dodger Stadium.
Monday, May 13, 2024
May is National Foster Youth Month! It was an honor to coauthor a motion at this week's Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting to celebrate. 
Monday, May 13, 2024
There is no better time to pump up your tires and take your bicycle for a spin.
Thursday, May 9, 2024
As spring blooms, it brings with it a renewed sense of opportunity to embrace the fresh air and physical activity that comes with the season.
Monday, May 6, 2024
Warmer weather, longer days and the sound of baseball is officially back!

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Representatives from The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Office of Violence Prevention today joined other members of the National Offices of Violence Prevention Network at an event hosted by the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
Public Health Attends White House Event on Community Violence Intervention
Circle K will offer 40 cents off per gallon of fuel between 4 and 7 p.m. local time Thursday, May 23 during Circle K Fuel Day Pop-Up and 50% off on car washes all day at over 200 participating Circle K locations including Los Angeles.
May 23: Circle K Offers 40 Cents Off For Fuel Day Pop-up
Ditch the predictable and dive headfirst into the Liquid Courage Comedy Hour, Friday and Saturday, June 7 to 8 at 8 p.m. in Old Town Newhall.
June 7: The MAIN Hosts Two Female Lead Comedy Performances
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today joined Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) and Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, along with teachers, parents, and LGBTQ+ advocates, to announce Assembly Bill (AB) 1955, the Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth (SAFETY) Act, to ensure all students have a safe and supportive environment to learn regardless of gender identity. 
Legislators and LGBTQ+ Advocates Announce New SAFETY ACT
 Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announced that his second school transparency bill, which mandates the California Department of Education to publish information on its website about the members selected for its Parent Advisory Council, was approved on the Senate Floor.
Wilk’s Parent Advisory Council Transparency Bill Passes Senate Floor
The Department of Motor Vehicles is making it so easy for Californians to take care of business as part of its customer-focused digital transformation that the DMV will no longer process simple transactions in offices that can easily be completed online or through other convenient options.
DMV Innovations Making it Easier than Ever to Skip Office Trip
California Nurses Association applauds the California Senate’s passage (31-8) of S.B. 1061, which would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from including medical debt on credit reports.
CNA Applauds State Senate’s Passage of S.B. 1061 Removing Medical Debt From Credit Reports
As Memorial Day weekend approaches and Californians gear up for summer festivities, the California Highway Patrol will implement a statewide traffic enforcement effort to help everyone reach their destination safely.
CHP Urges Everyone to ‘Buckle Up’ as Holiday Weekend Approaches
The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is set to receive a $75,000 grant investment from the national nonprofit, Petco Love, in support of their lifesaving work for animals in Los Angeles County.
National Nonprofit Petco Love Invests in the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation to Save, Improve the Lives of Pets in L.A.
When Nicole Brooks leafed through the College of the Canyons Fall 2022 class schedule, a British Literature course caught her eye. 
From COC to the University of Cambridge
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
grave marker
The Santa Clarita Valley Media Collaborative's inaugural NextGen MediaMakers Festival was held Saturday, May 18 at the Canyon Country Community Center.
Inaugural NextGen MediaMakers Festival Celebrates Young Creatives
The County of Los Angeles Fire Department’s urban search and rescue (USAR) team, known internationally as USA-2, successfully completed a 36-hour training exercise and evaluation by international experts last week at the Del Valle Regional Training Center in Castaic to continue deploying to disasters around the world.
LACoFD Hosts International Disaster Search, Rescue Training
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Edward Yen as the new executive officer Tuesday to oversee the administration of the Board of Supervisors.
Supes Appoint Edward Yen Executive Officer
The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market will be celebrating its nine-year anniversary Saturday, May 25.
Newhall Farmers Market Celebrating Nine-Year Anniversary
The College of the Canyons Athletic Department honored Cougar student-athletes who will be graduating and/or transferring this semester while also naming six Student-Athlete Academic Excellence Award Winners during the department's annual end of the year celebratory dinner.
Six Cougars Earn Academic Excellence Award, Graduating Class Honored
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s Level II Trauma Center marked 40 years of service at a ceremony Tuesday, May 21.
Henry Mayo Trauma Center Celebrates 40 Years
California Institute of the Arts announced the appointment of Ranu Mukherjee as dean of its School of Film/Video.
Ranu Mukherjee Appointed CalArts Dean of Film/Video
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — The California Legislature on Monday overwhelmingly approved two bills that would change how social media companies do business.
State Lawmakers Advance Social Media Bills
Nearly 200 students, faculty and community leaders attended a May 6 naming ceremony to honor Harriet and Harvey Bookstein for their generous support for the real estate program and center at California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.
CSUN Unveils Bookstein Real Estate Center
In a reversal from the traffic pattern on recent nights, the California Department of Transportation plans to close all lanes on Southbound U.S. Highway 101 Ventura Freeway starting at 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, for construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in Agoura Hills, a project being constructed by Santa Clarita-based C.A. Rasmussen.
Caltrans Announces Southbound Highway 101 Closure
One evening in 2017, Grant Horner, Ph.D., the director of the classical liberal arts program at The Master’s University, had just finished conducting a plenary talk in Manhattan when he came face-to-face with a continent-sized proposal.
TMU Professor Helps Bring Classical Christian Education to Africa
The city of Santa Clarita announced temporary lane closures east bound on Lyons Avenue, between Wiley Canyon Road and Railroad Avenue.
Lyons Avenue Temporary Lanes Closures Announced
The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) announced the appointment of Katy Dammers as Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Performing Arts after an extensive international search.
Katy Dammers Named REDCAT Deputy Director, Chief Curator
SCVNews.com