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BAKER & ASSOCIATES

Tel: 818-999-0106

Fax: 818-999-1196

 

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Woodland Hills, CA 91367

 

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At the Los Angeles, California law firm of Baker & Associates, we represent clients throughout Southern California including the communities of Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Monica, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Simi Valley, Studio City, Encino, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Valencia.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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Firm Victories

 

Plaintiff v. Our Client, a Resort

This litigation involved an easement granted to Plaintiff, the original developers of a well known resort. Our clients were former owners/managers of the Resort.  The plaintiff was the owner of property adjacent to the Resort. This case involved various irritations that plaintiff alleged to have arisen from the Resort's use of an easement that runs over plaintiff’s property, adjacent to the Resort’s convention facility. Plaintiff complained that the Resort's owners, previous owners, operators, and previous operators, had “overburdened” the easement with employee shuttles and delivery truck traffic. The case settled shortly after the Mandatory Settlement Conference, with our firm convincing plaintiff to dismiss the case due to the fact that they had no supportable case against our client, and risked an adverse judgement, and possibly malicious prosecution exposure.

 

Plaintiff v. Our Clients, Automotive Dealerships

This was a class-action case. There were over 1,000 class members, who all alleged various wage and hour violations by our clients, owners of several Southern California auto dealerships. The litigation consumed over five years of firm time to defend. At the third private mediation the class counsel demanded over $20,000,000 to settle the suit. After 14 hours of mediation the case settled on a “claims-made” basis for approximately $600,000.

 

Plaintiff Construction Co, Our Client,  v. School District

This was a long and heated battle against the School District, in a decision originally certified for partial publication by the California Court of Appeal.  (The California Supreme Court later de-published the case, holding it posed serious threat to public entities statewide). The case concerned a dispute between our client, a public works general contractor, and the School District over a school retrofit project. The contractor asserted they had been wrongfully terminated from the project and not allowed to complete their work. The School District claimed that Plaintiff Construction Co, our client, had breached the parties’ contract and had not adequately responded to a “Three-day Notice to Proceed”. The jury returned an 11-1 verdict overwhelmingly in favor of our client Plaintiff, awarding them $954,197.00 in damages, including a landmark award of over $500,000 of lost profits, to the School District’s award of just $1.00.  

The trial judge, commented later:

"The case was hotly litigated, very competently litigated. The jury made its decisions on the evidence in the case based upon the credibility of the witnesses, based upon the strength and weight of the written evidence, and this court is not inclined to overturn them."

In spite of the fact that the decision was ultimately de-published, it was a significant victory for our client, and all public works contractors. The principles it announced stand as a blueprint for any case involving a claim for damages resulting from lost business profits.

 

Claimant, Our Client, and a Business Center, LLC

This was a binding arbitration concerning a construction project on a commercial office building. Our client, a general contractor, and the building owner entered into a contract, which included several addendums. The project was to take 150 days. Instead, it took 393 days. This delay, caused by the actions of owner, formed the basis of the claim made by our client. In addition, the owner failed to pay certain of the amounts due under the final invoice. Further damages were incurred as the result of the decision by the owner to permit tenants to remain in the building while construction was ongoing. The owner asserted offsets that would have completely negated our client’s claim. After six full days of hearings the arbitrator awarded our client over $155,000.

 

Plaintiff v. Defendant, Our Client

This action arose out of certain painting and contracting work performed by plaintiff at a well-known Hollywood nightclub owned by our client. Plaintiff’s painting work included the application of a base paint and final “faux” finish which made the painted wall surfaces appear textured and aged. Plaintiff asserted that she was an “artist”, and not a painting contractor. However, plaintiff’s own invoices showed that the bulk of services provided by her consisted of straight painting, drywall repairs, concrete repairs, water sealing, sanding and spackling, applications of primer and base coat and other services requiring a contractor’s license in California. It was undisputed that plaintiff never possessed a contractor’s license. Applicable law in California prohibits an unlicensed contractor from recovering for its work.

Therefore, plaintiff’s lack of licensure meant that as a matter of law she was not entitled to any compensation for the work performed, and our client was entitled to recover all monies already paid for such painting work. Our firm filed a motion to bifurcate and have the court rule on this legal issue. On the Friday prior to trial the court denied the motion, essentially ruling that plaintiff did not need a license. The next Monday we renewed the motion, at which time the court changed its opinion 180 degrees and indicated it was inclined to grant the motion. The court then strongly urged the parties to attempt to settle the case, stating to plaintiff that she had a “big problem” with her case. The case was settled on terms very favorable to our client.