Our construction law practice handles all aspects of construction law, including construction litigation. Our construction law attorneys have a record of success litigating construction disputes in court, arbitration and mediation. New Jersey construction law is complex. Our attorneys have significant experience in all aspects of New Jersey construction law, and have had much success representing homeowners in construction disputes.
Our firm represents homeowners in all areas of construction litigation. These are just a few examples.
Construction Disputes Between Homeowners and Contractors
Whether it is building a new home or renovations, a construction project is a major financial undertaking for most families. When a contractor fails to properly perform the work, performs the work poorly, demands money to which it is not entitled, walks off the job, or files a construction lien, this can cause major disruption in the home. It can also delay the project, and cause the expense and delay of finding a new contractor to complete the job. We help homeowners negotiate the complexities of New Jersey construction law, and fight aggressively for them to obtain a positive outcome.
Negotiations & Litigation in Construction Projects
Because of the wasted time and expense which construction disputes can cause, if the relationship between the homeowner and contractor can be salvaged our New Jersey construction attorneys will first try negotiate a resolution which minimizes the cost to the homeowner and completes the project. This is not always possible, however. When a contractor has botched the job, walked off the job, demanded more money that it was entitled to, or filed a construction lien to which it is not entitled, often the relationship cannot be salvaged, and the only option is litigation. When litigation ensues, our attorneys fight tenaciously for our clients. We have achieved a track record of success in construction litigation.
Breach of Contract
The contract is the most important document in a construction project, and therefore it is the most important document in any construction litigation. It establishes the rights and responsibilities between the owner and contractor. It often controls the outcome. Our construction attorneys assist homeowners in reviewing and drafting construction contracts, and when the contract is breached we are aggressive in fighting for our clients’ rights in court, arbitration and mediation.
Construction Defects and Negligence
Another common area of construction litigation is negligence in the work and defects in the finished product. Construction defect litigation ensues when the contractor did not do the work according to the plans or the building code, or in some other way performed the work in an unsatisfactory manner. Often times this will require expert testimony from an expert to establish that the contractor violated the appropriate standards for its work. We represent homeowners in construction negligence and construction defect litigation.
Alternative Dispute Resolution: Arbitration and Mediation
Many construction contracts contain alternative dispute resolution clauses, requiring the parties to use ADR rather than the courts to resolve their problems. Mediation is a process in which a third-party, called a mediator, who is unconnected to the case tries to bring the two sides together to settle their differences. In arbitration, a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, will hear evidence to determine which side wins or loses and what the damages are. We have obtained significant success in the arbitration and mediation of construction disputes.
Construction Lien Litigation
Another area in which our construction attorneys represent homeowners is litigation over construction liens (formerly known under New Jersey construction law as “mechanics liens”). When a contractor alleges that it has not been paid, New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law gives the contractor a powerful tool to help it collect - it may file a construction lien against the property. The lien will make it difficult if not impossible for the owner to obtain financing or sell the property without paying the lien off; it can ultimately be foreclosed on. However there are many defenses to construction liens, and if a court finds that a construction lien was improperly filed, it will award the homeowner the attorneys fees it spent getting the construction lien discharged.
One of the tools in the construction attorney’s tool box is New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. The Consumer Fraud Act has regulations which make certain acts or omissions by contractors in residential construction projects “per se” consumer fraud. For example, every residential construction project must have a written contract with a start and stop date, insurance information, warranties, the right to rescind the contract, and many more provisions. And, of course, lies and “bait and switch” sales practices are also consumer fraud. This entitles the homeowner to triple damages and their attorneys fees being paid for by the contractor. There are many great contractors, but the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act protects homeowners against unscrupulous ones. We use this both as a sword when unscrupulous contractors try to take advantage of homeowners, and as a defense when unscrupulous contractors wrongfully sue homeowners or file frivolous construction liens.
If you are having a dispute over a construction project, contact us to arrange a consultation with our construction attorneys. Call (973) 890-0004 or email us. We can help.