Legal Question in Construction Law in California

Are we liable for charges designer & subcontractor never discussed nor gave a written estimate? What"s the best way to handle the situation?

Last summer, we re-landscaped our property. Recently, the wind blew down a chunk of our shared fence. We agreed with the neighbor to replace the whole fence. During construction, the fence contractor destroyed about a third of our brand new plants, busted our sprinklers & a drain plus removed pavers from our sidewalk for the gate installation. We contacted our landscape designer to get the property back in shape. After looking at the damages, she e-mailed us a quote to which we agreed. (It was a lump sum for all the fixes with no itemization.) Yesterday, we unexpectedly received a bill for $400 from a subcontractor hired by the landscape designer for the sidewalk repair. We never spoke with this company nor got a written estimate. This $400 charge seems extraordinarily excessive. The worker who did the sidewalk repair arrived in the morning & left before lunch plus he used pavers which were in our garage left over from the summer job. Since we never apprised of this extra $400, are we liable? What is the best way to resolve matter?

Asked on 3/10/15, 1:21 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

You have no obligation to pay a subcontractor directly. You have an agreed price with the party you have a contract with. They are obligated to do the work or pay to have it done. Your obligation is to pay them as agreed, not pay anyone they hire.

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Answered on 3/10/15, 2:59 pm

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