Legal Question in Construction Law in California

I recently sued a customer in small claims for non-payment of a custom gate we had made him and he retaliated by calling the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB). The board, though finding we had not made a defective gate, found some issues with the contract relating to the 50% deposit (instead of the typical 10%) we had been given.

The CSLB investigator, likely in a hurry to get a case off his desk, did not want to wait the two weeks until the case was heard, recommended strongly I refund the money and take back the gate. He stated the complaint would be put on public record for seven years if I did not.

I did as he asked and the judge in the case found the client responsible for all of the complaints as he had designed the gate and had ample opportunity to correct the flaws he complained about. He also agreed the client had volunteered the 50% and I had not asked for it.

The judge however, at the last minute of the trial, decided for the defendant saying, I had canceled the contract by retuning all of his money and taking the gate back.

What rule of law could he have based his judgement on?

Asked on 4/05/14, 7:15 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Rescision is the rule of law. What you describe is a classic case of rescision. The parties are put back in essentially the same place as before the disputed contract. That is called rescision. You got off lucky for a pretty serious CSLB violation. Doesn't matter who suggests it. You have a strict limit on what you can take as a deposit. Consider this a cheap reminder not to violate that, and all the other contracting rules. The result next time could be a LOT worse.

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Answered on 4/05/14, 11:06 pm

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