Archive for the ‘From The Experts’ Category

California Civil Procedure Series – How to File Suit

As an attorney in multiple states (California and Louisiana) there are many overlapping rules and theory of law that are transferable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, there are many local and state wide idiosyncrasies that are not necessarily taught in law school or not easily attainable for pro se or pro per litigants. This post has some helpful tips regarding filing a law suit.

California is a jurisdiction of forms. The State Bar has gone to great lengths to make a form for just about any situation. In that same light there are many that overlap and you nearly need a law degree just to navigate through the long list. The California Courts also have very helpful information regarding the legal process and all of the different procedural devices used by lawyers.

A typical checklist for items needed when you file your civil case are 1) Complaint, 2) Civil Cover Sheet, 3) Summons, and 4) Receipt and Acknowledgement. The complaint is your main document to be filed. This is where the Plaintiff lists out all of the facts and causes of action that related to the allegations being asserted in the suit. The complaint is the lawsuit itself and will be a part of the public record. The Civil Cover Sheet is a mandatory form that needs to accompany any new filing. This tells the clerk what type of case is being filed. Next is the Summons. This document tells the court and the opposition who is being sued and what that person/entity’s legal rights are with regard to an answer. Lastly is a handy little form that I like to include called Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt. This form allows for you to mail serve the Summons and Complaint on your adversary saving time and money. If the defendant does not reply within 20 days, it will be obligated to pay for your service fees. The normal delay to respond to a suit is 30 days.

Once you get your complaint filed you will want to serve your adversary with the documents to complete the process. You can use the Notice form listed above but if that fails then you will have to hire a process server to get the suit to the defendant. Regardless of how you serve them the clerk of court requires proof of service. This too is another form, Proof of Service of Summons. This helpful form has a long check list of methods of possible service. You make sure you followed one of the statutory required methods, file your proof and then your law suit has formally begun. You then must wait for your adversary to answer.

This blog post is a part of the California Civil Procedure Series written by Wolfe Law Group. You should contact an attorney when dealing with procedure issues as there are strict time limitations which need to be followed.

Posted in:     About Our Services, Business Matters, California, Construction News, Dispute A Lien, Disputes, From The Experts, Litigation  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,   /   Leave a comment

California Civil Procedure Series – Litigation Tips

Legal ConfusionAs an attorney in multiple states (California and Louisiana) there are many overlapping rules and theory of law that are transferable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, there are many local and state wide idiosyncrasies that are not necessarily taught in law school or not easily attainable for pro se or pro per litigants. I felt it appropriate to do this series so that it will help individual litigants, business owners and contractors so that they have a better understanding of only some of the nuances which I have come across.

Topics That I plan to cover include, 1) basic discovery rules, deadlines and concepts; 2) a CA C.C.P. 998 offer of settlement and its impact on litigation, 3) filing and obtaining a default judgment, including CA C.C.P. 1033 declarations and letters of intent, 4) basic filing procedures for a Complaint and subsequent  pleadings including proof of mailing forms.

The purpose of this series is to better educate anyone who gets involved in the legal process. There are a number of resources out there but sometimes simple tasks can be daunting in the legal industry. Other times certain jurisdictions emphasize things that are simply overlooked in others. Lastly, California has a vast network of forms that in theory set out to be helpful yet in the end can send one in a fit of confusion. I will attempt to show some helpful way to navigate that stream of information.

Posted in:     About Our Services, California, Construction News, From The Experts, Litigation  /  Tags: , , , , ,   /   1 Comment

Happy Holidays – Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

The week between Christmas and New Years is typically a slow one for the legal and construction industries. Although, many projects rarely see breaks, this is a time when many companies take a look at the year that was, and reflect on all of the good, bad and ugly. Then look to the year that will be so that it can be made better than the last.

For most of us 2011 was a rebounding year or even a rebuilding year. The economy has leveled out (somewhat) and the public sector is pushing the construction industry forward. There is money starting to move in the private markets which will make way for projects into 2012.

I am optimistic for the year to come and feel like things are moving in the right direction for the construction industry. For those companies who have weathered the storm, hopefully good days lie ahead. For those who did not make it, there will be other opportunities where wise decisions will manifest from woeful past experience.

So from all of us here at the Wolfe Law Group we like to wish all of our clients, readers, followers, friends and family the happiest of holidays. Best of luck into the new year, may exciting times lie ahead.

Posted in:     Construction News, From The Experts, Louisiana  /  Tags: , ,   /   Leave a comment

Your Mechanics Lien Resource Treasure Trove

Mechanics Liens used to be a cornerstone topic on this blog; meaning I would write an article about filings, foreclosing and/or litigating a mechanics lien quite frequently. In fact, over the years I sort of consider myself a “lien guy.”  Insofar as construction law goes, mechanic lien and state or federal bond claims has sort of become my thing.

So, where has all of the mechanic lien posts gone?!

If you’re a reader of this blog but not my other blog – The Construction Lien Blog – you may be wondering.  But as you can gather from the blog’s title, a few years ago I created a separate blog focused on lien issues across the country, and post very regularly there on the topic.

As I exhaust the subject on that blog, and don’t to duplicate postings from there over here, most of my mechanic lien and bond claim talk is done on the Construction Lien Blog.  So, if you’re interest in lien laws (and if you are a construction participant or construction law person, lien laws are super important), I recommend you take a look at this other blog.

To give you a more direct path to relevant information, here are the articles posted on the construction lien laws in the states where Wolfe Law Group practices.

Also, be sure to check out these other resources providing through the lien and notice preparation and management company I founded in 2007, Zlien:

Posted in:     Around The Web, From The Experts, Mechanics Lien, Miller Act Claims, State Bond Claims  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,   /   2 Comments

Tips For Hiring A Residential Contractor

Alicia Lagarde CraigWe’re happy to hear from Alicia Lagarde as a guest blogger on the Monitor this week. This blog focuses a great deal on construction law from the perspective of the contractor, supplier or subcontractor. It’s a nice change of pace to have Alicia posting on our site to discuss a perspective that is very important and popular, but not frequently discussed here: the perils and challenges of hiring a contractor to perform home repairs or construction.

Alicia Lagarde is a licensed REALTOR® in the State of Louisiana, serving Metropolitan New Orleans, including the Northshore.  As an agent for Keller Williams Realty New Orleans,  Alicia is dedicated to finding the perfect property that best suits your needs and goal. Visit her website at, and her blog at

How to Find a Contractor – Choosing the right contractor will save you time & money.

• Ask friends and trusted associates who have already hired contractors for recommendations

• Check out potential contractors with consumer protection groups, such as the Better Business Bureau of New Orleans: or 504-581-6222. BBB’s video, How to hire a contractor, can be purchased from their online resource library.

• Ask for proof that potential contractors are licensed with the State of Louisiana, and verify with the State Licensing Board at: or call (225) 765 2301 to verify licensing.

• Ask potential contractors about their familiarity and experience with energy efficiency, being environmentally responsible, and providing healthy building practices and materials.

Hiring a contractor

Once you have found a licensed contractor who checks out with the BBB or another consumer protection group, ask for:

–A list of references, particularly of projects similar to yours and make sure to call    the references to check them.

–Lists of subcontractors and suppliers and verify that they pay their debts on time.

–Proof of current insurance (should include General Liability, Worker’s Compensation and Builder’s Risk). Make sure to obtain an insurance binder with you listed as the additional insured from the contractor’s insurance company before signing a contract.

–The contract should be modeled after standard American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) construction contract. Contract templates can be purchased at:

–Before signing the contract, make sure you understand the terms and conditions. If necessary, ask an attorney or a neutral party familiar with the construction process to advise you.


–Ten percent (10%) of the contract is the most a legitimate contractor will request for a deposit.

–Payment should proceed according to the contract. Pay only for what has been completed.

–Do not pay in cash, write a check and keep written records of all payments.

–Keep written records of paperwork, conversations and activities, including photographs of the completed work.

–Changes to the scope of work should be estimated and approved by the contractor and you in writing before they are begun; make sure to get 2 original copies of the changes in writing and you also want to make sure that both you and the contractor sign-off on these changes.

–Do not make final payment until all work is completed to your satisfaction, all subcontractors and suppliers are paid, and the jobsite is clean and cleared of all debris.

Posted in:     From The Experts  /  Tags: , , , ,   /   Leave a comment