Legal Question in Construction Law in California

Kohler plumber refuses to pay consumer directly for damage done to property. Can he do this?

Kohler sent a plumber to fix our bathtub drain. The plumber was very careless and put tools/drain parts directly onto our new marble countertop and damaged it. The plumber has accepted responsibility but refuses to pay me directly. He wants only to pay a vendor and I can't do the work anytime soon because my husband has alzheimers and not possible to w/o bathroom or disrupt him. I want to be compensated for the damage to handle when I am ready. What are my rights in a situation like this? And are there any laws pertaining to this that I can read?


Asked on 1/16/22, 11:28 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

If you already have a couple of estimates for the cost of repair, the plumber cannot refuse to compensate you directly. There are no laws I could point you to that make that simple a statement. It is the conclusion that is reached by all the law of damages. If you don't have specific amounts proved to be the cost of repair, however, the plumber can require you to get that information before paying you, and if you were to take him to small claims court, you would have to provide that information to the court anyway. The order things should go in are: 1) you get a legitimate estimate for repair, preferably a couple, 2) he should pay you the cost of repair, then 3) you give him a release so you can't come back and ask for more money later.

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Answered on 1/19/22, 3:12 pm


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