When the relationship between a homeowner and contractor falls apart, our construction lawyers have the experience to negotiate issues as a means to avoid litigation, but if these means fail we can provide a realistic overview of the best options for litigation for either side of the construction equation.
Our goal is to educate clients about the realities of construction law and the court process, to allow clients the opportunity to make the best decisions for their own scenario. Even during litigation, Hartsoe & Morgan’s construction lawyers employ dispute resolution alternatives such as mediation and arbitration. Our belief is that a trial is the worst environment to resolve a construction dispute, for many reasons including the cost, time involved, and the uncertainty of the outcome. However, if the matter is to be litigated, the construction attorneys of H&M have extensive trial experience in state and federal courts. We never forget that we are dealing with a home for an owner or a personal business for a contractor, we take your issues seriously, and we strive to be realistic with our approach and advice. By using both negotiation and trial, we have achieved positive results for many of our clients.
Contract Review and Drafting
Whether it’s a thirty-thousand dollar kitchen remodel or construction of a five-hundred thousand dollar house, participants on both sides of home improvement and construction should have an experienced construction law attorney review the contract to ensure that all rights are protected and that all provisions are correctly included. For the owner, a review focuses on ensuring that the contract contains the necessary specificity to protect the owner from unexpected circumstances or a dishonest or over-worked contractor. For example, detailed plans must be attached and risk of loss established. Provision of adequate labor should be addressed, as should the allocation of costs for litigation should the contractor breach his or her obligations. For the contractor, the review focuses on satisfying the requirements of the State Board for Contractors, and can ensure that the terms contain the necessary language to protect a contractor from unreasonable owners or those who may require motivation to make required payments. A contract review can prevent a costly law suit, and can protect the interests of both parties at the outset of construction. If you are a homeowner and have no written contract, we can draft the necessary terms to protect your interests. For contractors, our attorneys can review and revise your standard construction contract, or create an entirely new document, to ensure you are presenting a quality contract to potential clients and that your company’s interests are protected.
Hartsoe & Morgan represents homeowners and construction companies in all facets of construction litigation in Virginia, in both state and federal courts. Sometimes, filing a well-researched and well-pled lawsuit is all that is required to bring parties to the table and force negotiation when a stalemate has occurred. Sometimes, closure of a matter comes by way of a jury decision. Regardless of the way in which a matter is resolved, and at all stages of litigation, the construction litigation lawyers of H&M have the experience required to provide clients with a solid overview of the litigation process, combined with recommendations as the best, most reasonable options for each client. We have appeared before almost every court in Northern Virginia, and have a strong knowledge of both the litigation process in Virginia and the judicial personnel involved. Our lawyers education clients on litigation options, and while we may make strong recommendations, the client is equipped with the knowledge to make the final decision. Over the years, our clients have appreciated our candid opinions and positive results.
A mechanic’s lien in Virginia memorializes a contractor’s or sub-contractor’s claim of money owed for work performed on a jobsite. For contractors, filing a mechanic’s lien may be the only way to ensure payment, although perfecting a lien does not preclude negotiation or trial to attempt to recoup the amount owed. For owners, receiving notice of the placement and perfection of a mechanic’s lien can mean that completion of the project may be delayed, and steps should be taken to address the matter head on. Virginia has in place specific statutory requirements for addressing and perfecting a mechanic’s lien, and failure to follow the state’s guidelines will result in the lien being defective and failing to protect the rights of the contractor. On the contractor side, mechanic’s liens must be filed and completed correctly to be a viable protection of rights, and on the home owner’s side, a mechanic’s lien on your property needs to be addressed immediately with the assistance of an experienced construction attorney.
The Principal Construction Litigation & Contract Review Attorney at Hartsoe & Morgan is Robert J. Hartsoe.
Please call our Fairfax Office to make an appointment in Fairfax or Leesburg to discuss your construction litigation needs.