Some Recent Cases
Alexander Steel v. French: David H. Ricks represented the Defendant French in this matter. French sold a used home to Plaintiff. After purchasing the home, the owner started tearing downing the drywall and removing the outside stucco for a massive remodel of the home. During the remodel, the Plaintiff found that some of the areas of the home had been improperly framed, had been constructed without a permit, had some mold, etc. (French had not built the house originally, and had not performed any of the unpermitted work.) Just prior to trial, the Plaintiff’s attorney was convinced to drop the lawsuit against French and settled for a small sum against another defendant who had insurance coverage.
For more on Real Estate Litigation.
Herron v. Alpine Custom Pools: David H. Ricks represented the Defendant Alpine Custom Pools in this matter. Alpine constructed a swimming pool for a homeowner. The homeowner, with the assistance of several of his friends constructed the decking and surrounding structures. When the pool was completed, the homeowner did not like the type of plaster he chose. He inquired of the Alpine the cost to have the plaster removed and replaced and was provided a price he thought was too high. During a five to six year period, there had been one or two small leaks detected in the pool, however, those leaks were quickly discovered and repaired. Following the repairs, and years following the initial construction, the homeowner hired another contractor who removed and replaced the plaster. The homeowner hired an attorney to claim the pool leaked and the entire backyard needed to be replaced due to salt water contamination and subsidence and that Alpine was required to pay for the plaster replacement. The homeowner hired a construction “expert” to testify and claim that the cost of the repairs would exceed $250,000. At the mediation of this matter, Alpine offered to settle the claim for $10,000 but that offer was rejected. The case went to trial with the plaintiff claiming damages in excess of $250,000. After more than eight days of trial, the jury issued a defense verdict on three of the four remaining counts against Alpine. On the one claim the jury found for the Plaintiff, it awarded the plaintiff less than $7,000.
4-D Concepts v. Modus Furniture: David H. Ricks represented the Plaintiff 4-D Concepts in this matter. For many years, 4-D provided warehousing and transportation service to the defendant. Near the end of their relationship, the defendant agreed to pay for certain additional services as part of the termination of their relationship. After fully providing the required services, 4-D submitted its bill which was not paid by the defendant. The defendant claimed that it was owed money for damage to products, for delayed deliveries and for other claims. The case was required to be resolved through arbitration and on the date of the arbitration, David H. Ricks asked for the interpretation of the contractual language to be made prior to any further ruling and further evidence. After the arbitrator found the interpretation to favor 4-D Concepts, the defendant immediately settled to claim favorably for the plaintiff 4-D.
For mor on Commercial Collections.
Macleod, et al. v. Productivity California, et al.: David H. Ricks represented a defendant and cross-defendant, Direct Terminal, Inc. in this matter. The property owner claimed that someone had entered the property that was being leased to the defendants and removed over $400,000 worth of installed, but unused, copper electrical cabling. All defendants denied that anyone had entered the property because it had been locked up or was operated on a 24/7 basis and there was no evidence of any theft. After several depositions and extensive written discovery, and nearly a year of litigation, plaintiffs were finally convinced to accept an offer of $25,00 from Mr. Ricks’ client as a settlement of this matter.
For more on Breach of Contract.
David H. Ricks & Associates defended a Rancho Cucamonga escrow agent from claims of financial elder abuse, fraud and conspiracy to defraud a San Diego County homeowner and a straw buyer in a scheme fostered by a California mortgage broker, a real estate agent and a real estate appraiser. The escrow agent was an employee of an escrow company owned by a Rancho Cucamonga real estate broker.
It was alleged that a loan officer for a mortgage broker approached a homeowner who was having problems paying his mortgage. The loan officer proposed a scheme whereby the homeowner would sell his property to a straw buyer (this is a person that has no real interest in the property but is there to deceive a lender) who had good credit that could be used to get a new loan. The Southern California homeowner found a co-worker that had good credit but did not have the income necessary to pay the new loan. In fact, the homeowner had no way of paying the new loan either.
The loan forms and real estate purchase documents were filled with fraudulent information. The documents were then forwarded to the Rancho Cucamonga escrow company for processing. The escrow agent, Mr. Ricks’ client, was assigned the file. Following escrow procedures and rules, the escrow agent completed the escrow and issued the funds as required. Some of those funds were paid to the homeowner, to the appraiser, the loan broker and a real estate agent.
Within several months the property again went into foreclosure because no one paid the loan. The property was finally lost in foreclosure. The homeowner and straw buyer found a San Diego attorney to file a real estate litigation lawsuit against everyone involved in the deceitful real estate transaction, including the escrow agent.
David H. Ricks, a Rancho Cucamonga real estate litigation attorney, proved that the escrow agent did nothing wrong and was innocent of the alleged conspiracy. While nearly everyone else was criminally prosecuted by the San Bernardino District Attorney, Mr. Ricks’ client was dismissed from the civil action and was never prosecuted because she was innocent of any wrong doing.
For more on real estate litigation.
Civil Code section 1549 provides: “A contract is an agreement to do or not to do a certain thing.” Courts have defined the term as follows: “A contract is a voluntary and lawful agreement, by competent parties, for good consideration, to do or not to do a specified thing.” (Robinson v. Magee (1858) 9 Cal. 81, 83.)
A breach of contract is when one or more parties fail to perform the agreement entered into prior to the performance of the specified thing.
This is probably one of the most often asked questions of me when I start my review of a breach of contract case. Whether a case proceeds to litigation often depends on the ability to recover the cost of attorney’s fees from the opposing party. I often see businesses or individuals that are owed $20,000.00 or less from someone that did not pay for the services or did not pay on a loan.