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What are my next steps to a job that the owner doesn't want to pay for the last invoice?

CaliforniaConstruction Contract

Job type: Public works sewer line extension approx 200 ft for a private client Issue: Owner says that they don't have funds to finish because of change orders. The owners are trying to blame us and paused the job last week. This week they changed their stance and are now saying we abandoned the job. They don't want to pay their last invoice. They said they want still work with me but bring in other sub contractors. This is way over my head and I don't know how to proceed forward. Field conditions: Based on engineering plans the field conditions ended up being different and is causing additional work. - asphalt ended up being 21" - on plan it was 6" - city isn't allowing 60% of the soil excavated to be used as backfill. It was dense rock filled material. - city isn't allowing the current location of a manhole because of field conditions and needs the location to be re-engineered

1 reply

Jun 2, 2023

You should have a good claim for breach of contract against the owner for the uncompensated work performed under the contract. You may also have a claim on the owner's payment bond if one was furnished for the project. You may be able to serve a stop payment notice on the construction lender. And there is a chance that you could record a valid mechanics lien on the adjacent prive property benefited by the improvement. 

Before you go to the expense of the remedies above, you could send a demand letter from an attorney. That may create enough leverage to get you paid. If not, then I would proceed with any available remedies noted above and file a lawsuit without delay.

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