Why You Should Hire A Construction Litigation Attorney

Litigation Attorney

A construction litigation attorney, also known as construction litigators or trial lawyers, assists and represents subcontractors, suppliers, contractors and other construction professionals. A common legal issue that arises during construction projects is a failure to pay for the work performed or contractors in payment bond claims. An experienced construction litigation attorney can evaluate your case to ensure a successful handling of disputes in a timely and effective manner.

Here are some specific strategies that a construction litigation attorney can utilize to assist contractors:

1. Assisting with Construction Proposals

A construction litigation lawyer can help with requests for bidding proposals, assist in contract interpretations, and protect payments following the proposals. Having a lawyer during a construction proposal process can maximize the impact of each section within the proposal and many disputes can be resolved through either alternative dispute resolution or settlement, rather than costly litigation.

2. Manage Construction Defects, Delays, or Fines

Construction defects, delays, or fines can be complex due to the clauses in construction proposals. Hiring a construction litigation attorney can alleviate a lot of the underlying concerns of construction sites for both public and private projects. Any material deficiencies, specification problems, or workmanship deficiencies will be addressed.

3. Negligent Design

If there are any areas of concern that may affect the owners and tenants of existing and new properties, a litigation attorney may be necessary to ensure the structural integrity of the design. Additionally, the litigation attorney is knowledgeable in the building codes, environmental requirements, and possible deficiencies of the building.

4. Appeal

A construction litigation attorney can recommend a variety of post-trial motions, identify the issues for an appeal, gather evidence to present oral arguments in court, and more. Alternative dispute methods, settlement conferences, or agreements may also play an important role in the settlements or the appeal process.

For more information about why you should hire a construction litigation attorney, please contact Warren S. Dank for legal counsel.

How a Commercial Residential Estate Attorney Can Support Your Investment

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Commercial real estate refers to a property that is used for a business purpose, but it can also refer to a piece of land that is intended to be used as a means to generate profit, especially with residential rental properties. With construction growing in the Tri-State area, many business owners are seeking an investment in commercial property including, but not limited to, malls, grocery stores, office buildings, manufacturing shops, and much more.

Attorneys specializing in commercial residential real estate can assist in a variety of ways such as:

1. Representing individuals seeking commercial property 

Attorneys that represent individuals seeking commercial property can help you negotiate and analyze the initial investment costs. Overall, the returns on the investment have the potential to be much higher, but an experienced attorney can assist in the evaluation of the property’s worth and the likelihood of a high return on investment. 

2. Representing companies seeking a lease on a commercial property 

If you or your organization is seeking a lease on a commercial property, acquiring an attorney during the process can help determine areas where you can lease a commercial space. Qualifying for a lease of commercial property is not a universally standard practice, and there are many factors that come into play where an experienced attorney with the knowledge on this process can help. 

3. Representing developers on new construction projects

An investment in a real estate law firm with a good reputation can save developers a significant amount of money over the course of a construction project. An attorney can draft and negotiate the contracts for new construction projects, assist in closing deals, and provide guidance to clients. Real estate attorneys have a comprehensive, insightful understanding of risk management to ensure clients receive the best possible advice in navigating the complex procedure of creating a construction project for a commercial business.

4. Representing contracts for a new purchase of property 

As a business owner seeking a new purchase of property, hiring an attorney to perform the due diligence and look at facts objectively, allows more time for you to focus on your business. Since the commercial real estate attorneys are not making a commission, they can provide advice that saves you money and optimizes the development options of your newly purchased property.

Hiring a commercial real estate attorney before signing a contract is an essential step in protecting your investment. Contact Warren S. Dank today for a consultation.

An Overview of Lemon Laws in New York State

New York’s lemon laws apply to motor vehicles with one or more recurring problems or major defects that the dealer or other authorized mechanics cannot fix. Under New York lemon laws, motorists receive 18 months or 18,000 miles from the date of purchase, to return their vehicle for a full refund. The vehicle also has to be registered in New York to fall under the law.

Since the enactment of the lemon laws, various manufacturers such as Audi, Bentley, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC Truck, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Land Rover, Lincoln, Lotus, Mazda, Nissan, andVolkswagen have become willing participants. 

The Different Lemon Laws in New York

Motorists in New York have three lemon laws available to them when they purchase a defective car. Depending on the situation of the vehicle, it may fall under (a) New York New Car lemon law (b) New York Used Car lemon law or (c) the federal lemon law. Motorists can seek advice from a consumer rights litigation attorney to help them determine which lemon laws apply to their vehicle.

New York lemon laws also cover new cars with a defect that required at least four or more repairs within 18,000 miles in the first two years after purchase, without the problem being solved.

Is Your Car a Lemon?

If your vehicle meets the lemon laws requirements, then you may be entitled to return your car and receive a refund equal to the purchase price minus the allowance for use or receive a comparable car. The New York Used Car lemon law applies to cars that cost more than $1,500.00 and have more than 18,000 miles but less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase. 

New York’s lemon laws were enacted to keep dealerships and resellers from taking advantage of consumers. Seek legal advice from Warren S. Dank to find out if you have a consumer rights case that requires the services of a litigation attorney.

Everything You Need to Know About Bad Faith Insurance Claims

consumer protection attorney

Insurance companies play a major role in settling claims. They are known to have the expertise to validate claims and negotiate on behalf of the policyholder. Insurance companies are also well-known for using technicalities in assessing claims to ensure the company makes the most money. After an accident, an insurance adjuster will evaluate the damage and can look for reasons that could justify denying claims or use bad faith tactics in approving or denying a claim. 

Insurance companies acting in bad faith often deny or under bid a policyholder’s claim without a clear reason. If a policyholder suspects that his/her insurance company wrongfully denied your claim or manipulated the law to offer them less than they deserve according to their insurance policy, it is their responsibility to prove this with the assistance from a consumer protection attorney

Here are some specific strategies insurance companies use in bad faith claims: 

1. Refusing to investigate the claim

Insurance companies are legally mandated to investigate claims of responsibility for the covered individual. The problem is that in some instances they conduct unreasonable investigations and use invalid or frivolous reasons to deny the claim. Instead of focusing on finding evidence that substantiates the claim they look for issues that can be used against you. The company does this to pay a lower settlement or no settlement at all. 

2. Unclear or unreasonable explanation for claim denial

Denying claims is a regularity for insurance companies, however, this can only be done based on evidence and facts. If an insurance company denies a claim with no unclear or unreasonable explanation, the policyholder can take the case to court. Most insurance companies would rather settle than go to court. 

3. Delayed response as to whether the claim was accepted or denied

Another tactic often used by insurance companies is to purposely not respond to a claim immediately. Insurance companies do this in hopes that the claimant is in dire financial need and will accept a low-ball offer being made by the insurance company. This is constituted as ‘failure” to act in good faith and claimants can fight this through their legal counsel.

Insurance companies are not always fair in their practices and often claimants are not even aware of the unfair treatment they receive by insurance companies. To avoid this, claimants must seek out legal guidance in the event of an insurance claim. If you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact Warren S. Dank today to speak with a consumer protection attorney.

3 Ways Landlords Can Protect Themselves and Avoid Liability

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For most landlords, rental properties provide a reliable source of passive income. However, landlords can face some maintenance challenges. 

Also, leasing your property is complicated and can greatly enhance a landlord’s chance of getting sued. To mitigate or completely circumvent liabilities, landlords must uncover and assess all vulnerabilities and undertake proactive steps to prevent or minimize potential lawsuits by current and prospective tenants.

In this post, our landlord tenant attorney addresses a few important ways landlords can protect themselves and avoid liability.

  1. Do regular inspections 

Landlords understand the importance of a rental inspection when a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Landlords use rental inspection reports to help determine which repairs are required, who should bear the cost of those repairs, and if the costs can be deducted from a tenant’s deposit. But, landlords should also do regular walk-throughs to note what needs to be fixed and arrange to have it repaired promptly. Walk-throughs can also help landlords discover problems tenants may have neglected to mention, like a leaky faucet or a pest problem. Landlords can also instantly notice environmental hazards such as lead paint, carbon monoxide, mold problems, etc. that must be eliminated. 

Regular walk-throughs help landlords stay on top of their obligations, prevent delays with repairs, make sure the property is safe and in good condition, and prevent issues from spreading or worsening, costing more money and time. 

2. Obtain proper insurance 

Landlords must have their property correctly insured at all times. The insurance must offer protection against lawsuits brought by a tenant. A tenant can sue for various reasons including if landlords illegally enter a rental unit, if the landlord has not followed proper eviction procedure, or because of injuries caused due to dangerous conditions on the premise. Landlords must have adequate liability insurance to cover the cost of litigation and the damage awarded if the tenant wins the suit. 

3. Utilize a rental agreement. 

Before renting the property to a tenant, landlords should have a written lease or rental agreement — that is state-approved or written by a real-estate attorney — in place. This agreement must include rules that all tenants must follow and landlords must enforce the rules consistently. Landlords, however, must stay away from including any illegal provisions in their rental agreement that could lead to them getting sued.

Landlords must protect themselves against lawsuits at all times, therefore they should consistently strive to fulfill their duties and obligations to their tenants. The above-mentioned tips serve as precautionary actions to decrease the risk of getting sued. For more information about your landlord rights, contact Warren S. Dank for a landlord tenant attorney consultation.

Legal Contracts: What You Need to Know Before Signing on the Line

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Signing any legal contract means that you are agreeing to the outlined terms. Failing to adhere to the duties and obligations detailed in the contract can result in legal issues.

Therefore, it is crucial to know exactly what you’re agreeing to before adding your signature on that dotted line. Because once you do, you have no choice but to uphold your end of the bargain as long as they uphold theirs. You would be safest signing a contract reviewed and/or drafted by your civil litigation attorney.

Also, keep in mind that not all contracts require signatures, but legal contracts do. In some instances, verbal contracts are also legally binding.

What it Means to Add Your Signature to a Legal Document

The minute you put your signature on the dotted line…

  • you’re attesting to having read the contract
  • acknowledging that you agree with the terms and conditions stipulated
  • accepting that you’re legally authorized to sign the contract
  • and that you are mentally competent to sign it.

This is why legal contracts require you to fill in all the blank lines to prove that you fully comprehend the terms detailed on the contract. Hence, we recommend that you avoid signing contracts that have unfilled blank spaces, like a date, dollar amount, or other item. Don’t sign a contract if you feel threatened to sign it, if you don’t understand what is in the contract, or if you’d like to review it with your civil litigation attorney first.

Before Signing a Contract

Make sure you are familiar with all the protocols pertaining to the contract signing to make sure the contract is executed promptly. These protocols include: 

  • Final Draft – a properly executed contract must have the final version
  • Signatories – signatory is the representative who is authorized to enter into an agreement or terminate the legally binding contract
  • Copies – both parties should make copies with the original signatures on the contract.
  • Executions – this is the final protocol, both parties have to sign the contract before it’s executed.

Before signing any contract, we recommend having Warren S. Dank present with you to alert you of any loopholes and provide you with sound legal advice. 

Everything You Need to Know About the “Pay-if-Paid” Clause

construction litigation attorney

When it comes to legal disputes, it is not uncommon for a construction litigation attorney to deal with contracts with a pay-if-paid clause. This clause includes payment provisions often used between two or more parties, usually in the construction sector. A pay-if-paid clause determines which party will bear the financial risk of the project.

These Clauses are Risk-Shifting Systems

Pay-if-paid clauses are specifically designed to shift financial risk down the chain. A pay-if-paid clause allows a general contractor the freedom to pay subcontractors only after receiving payment from the property owner. This excuses the obligation of payment from the primary contractor and shifts the burden of non-payment to the subcontractors. 

State Legislation Against Pay-if-Paid Clauses

Over the past two decades, pay-if-paid clauses have become more sophisticated, especially after the housing fiasco and recession hit in 2008. Property developers and general contractors have used this clause to shift the financial risk of a project down the contracting chain, and abused it in order to withhold payments.

As a result, this has initiated many disputes that required the aid of a professional litigation attorney to resolve. Many contractors and subcontractors have strongly vocalized their disdain for the pay-if-paid clause, which prompted some states to legislate against it. 

The legislatures of these states have completely banned pay-if-paid clauses directly in statutory language. Several states have followed suit and adopted some version of a “prompt payment” statute – a mandatory payment to a subcontractor by the party with whom he contracted, provided the work was performed.  This approach seems to be gaining favor and currently, the pay-if-paid clause is already outlawed in the following states: California, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Montana, Ohio, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Despite the movement toward removing pay-if-paid clauses, there are some situations in which one may still be valid. It is important for contractors and suppliers, to be cautious when a contract includes this provision. It is crucial to include specific contractual language to state that both parties understand that the risk should be shifted. These contracts are best reviewed by a construction litigation attorney. Contact Warren S. Dank for more information about how you can protect yourself and your business.

Leasing Commercial Property? Here Are a Few Things You Should Know

civil litigation in NYC

Congratulations! You have launched a new business and are ready to lease a commercial space. While you may have leased an apartment in the past, there are a few unique considerations when leasing commercially. Here are a few things that can help you to avoid lease-related civil litigation in NYC. 

Common Area Maintenance and Other Fees

In addition to your monthly lease, you will likely be required to pay a percentage of the common area maintenance (CAM) fees and property taxes. The types of maintenance CAM covers and the cap on how much can be charged should be clearly outlined in your lease. You must also ensure you understand what portion of ongoing repairs, maintenance, and essential renovations you are required to pay. You will likely be responsible for the cost of renovations required to meet your business needs, but you must clearly outline in your lease what general and ongoing fees you are responsible for. An attorney can help you to determine and negotiate these fees. 

The Right to Sublease or Transfer Your Lease

While it may not be your original plan, you may want to sublease your space to a secondary tenant. If you have a portion of your space that you don’t use regularly, you may decide to sublet the space to another company. Without a provision allowing for subleasing, you may not be able to reap the benefits of this coworking arrangement. Or, let’s say that you sign a multi-year lease—but your business booms and you outgrow your space. Many landlords will want to terminate the lease, which can be costly, so ask for a provision to transfer the remainder of your lease to a new tenant. 

Finally, to ensure you understand all lease provisions, it is best to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf—with or without you present. Your attorney understands the common risk factors and can guide you on the most proactive approach for your business. As a civil litigation attorney in NYC, Warren S. Dank is here to assist. We have worked closely with both commercial real estate and landlord/tenant cases and will negotiate and arbitrate on your behalf.

4 Common Causes for Employee-Employer Litigation

In this current age, lawsuits against businesses are occurring at a more frequent pace. Hiring civil litigation attorneys can guard against or entirely defuse legal woes with employees. An attorney can help you navigate state federal laws and avoid legal action. Below we discuss the four most common causes for employee/employer disputes.

The most common causes of litigation

Harassment Lawsuit

Harassment can come from a boss, a supervisor, or even a co-worker. Harassment lawsuits can be sexual or non-sexual. One form of non-sexual harassment is bullying or the display of active hostility toward one or more employees. In a harassment lawsuit, the business can be held fully liable or at least partially liable for the damages caused.

To avoid these types of lawsuits, enterprises must have an existing and up-to-date harassment policy that every employee is made aware of. Enterprises can consult with civil litigation attorneys to assist in drafting the policy.

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination lawsuits are generally filed when an employee views his or her termination as inappropriate and lacking reason. To avoid such a lawsuit, employers must prove the termination was necessary. Enterprises can do so by keeping accurate records. These should include copies of signed contractual agreements, employee performance reports, and copies of any sort of punitive measures taken against the employee. Businesses can use these documents to prove the reason for the termination was appropriate. Commercial civil litigation attorneys can assist throughout this process.

Wage Law Violations

Many lawsuits by former employees are based on allegations that the employer violated federal labor laws. Wage and hour lawsuits are often based on claims that the employer failed to pay either the minimum wage or overtime pay. To prevent these types of lawsuits, make sure to implement systems and processes to accurately monitor hours worked by employees.

Discrimination

Discrimination lawsuits are filed as a result of unfair treatment based on race, sex, national origin, color, religion, age, or disability. Businesses can avoid these types of lawsuits by simply not discriminating – intentionally or unintentionally. Businesses must consistently treat all employees equally and not arbitrary. Understand the laws and write policies and protocols with protected classes in mind. 

With numerous laws in place offering protection to employees, businesses are more sensitive to lawsuits today than ever before. Enterprises can best circumvent the most common causes of employee litigation by incorporating the help of civil litigation attorneys.

3 Tips for Mitigating Business Partnership Disputes

Business partnership disputes can cost the involved parties a pretty penny. Not only are there lawyer consultation fees, but the time that should be used running operations is instead wasted on solving the dispute. Here are three tips that will help business partners avoid a messy partnership dispute down the road.

1.  Involved parties should hire a civil litigation attorney to help draft a partnership agreement.

When two or more people go into business together, all parties feel like they can trust one another. This trust leads to the skipping of important preventative measures like drafting a formal partnership agreement. They’ll instead shake hands and go the verbal agreement route. The problem is that when a dispute arises between the parties, this verbal agreement is no longer a good idea. What may have been said between the parties changed over the process, or each of the parties remembers the agreement differently. 

Therefore, a business partnership should work with an experienced attorney to craft a formal, written partnership agreement. It will ensure each party has their proverbial I’s dotted and T’s crossed. It helps to make clear the business’ structure and what each party expects in the partnership. It also helps to make any disputes that arise easier to handle because there are contractual steps that each party will take to resolve the issue(s). Each of the parties is advised to consult their separate attorneys so they can review the partnership agreement to make sure that it is fair and balanced for everyone involved.  

2.  Review the partnership agreement’s dispute resolution process with all involved parties (including shareholders).

As much as we want to assume that we’ve made a sound decision in choosing our business partner(s), it’s best to ere on the side of caution. Therefore, you want to review the agreements before a dispute arises. Be open with the discussion. Consider the steps that the involved parties will take to resolve different types of potential disputes. We recommend that all parties remind each other that first and foremost, this is a business arrangement. That means that personal feelings should be left out of the dispute. The focus should be solely on the business. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that different disputes will require different types of resolutions. Informal communication can help resolve a small dispute, for example. A bigger dispute, in comparison, may need the help of a neutral third-party mediator to help quell tension. If worst comes to worst, all involved parties should understand the buyout options and what could happen if a resistant partner isn’t willing to leave the business voluntarily.

3.  Assume that the business will grow and expand and discuss how workloads will be divided early on.

Businesses and those involved in them should expect that things will continue to change for various reasons. Change can be exciting, but it can also be problematic. One of the things that will change is the amount of work the parties involved in the business will have to take on. If the workload feels uneven between the different parties, resentment will begin to grow. “Why am I left doing all this and the others aren’t doing much of anything,” one of the people involved may ask. In order to avoid these types of situations, we advise that all involved parties lay out their respective expectations of who will do what as the business picks up. Consider creating a plan that outlines the distribution of work among the parties in a fair way, and leaves room for flexibility as things change. This will also prevent the parties from assuming that one of the other partners isn’t doing enough work, especially when there is a written division of tasks to refer to. Consulting a civil litigation attorney early on (and keeping them around so that they can answer any lingering questions) will help to reduce any business disputes that may arise in the future. Warren S. Dank has experience with all types of civil litigation and can help your partners and yourself come to an agreement.