Construction Law

Attorneys for Owners, Contractors, and Other Entities in the Construction Industry

Construction projects in New York can involve huge amounts of money and high stakes. Sometimes heated disputes arise between two or more contractors, subcontractors, designers, or suppliers. Litigation can involve a breach of a contract, a mechanic’s lien, deceptive practices, or bonding issues. It is vital to hire an attorney who knows how the construction industry works and understands the nuances of the specific laws that govern the industry. The New York construction lawyers at Kupillas & Unger can advise and advocate for you during a construction dispute.

Construction Law

Often, construction projects require the cooperation of numerous contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. We represent owners, contractors, and subcontractors in claims arising out of breaches of construction contracts, mechanics’ liens, deceptive practices, and bonding controversies. Often, issues arising out of home improvement include shoddy workmanship, contractor abandonment of the project, a contractor who is not licensed, fraud, and escrow violations. Claims may be pursued under more than one legal theory. For example, a failure to deposit advance funds into an escrow account can be considered both criminal larceny and a breach of fiduciary duty.

Breach of Contract

In order to recover remedies for a breach of a contract, it is necessary to establish the formation of an enforceable contract between the plaintiff and the defendant, the plaintiff’s performance, the defendant’s lack of performance, and damages caused by the lack of performance. Sometimes a breach of a contract involves a subcontractor’s failure to abide by the specifications and bid documents. In other cases, it involves a failure to perform certain terms of the contract. Abandonment is a breach of a contract. If a contractor walks off a project and abandons it, you should let the surety know that there was a breach of the contract. A construction attorney in New York can help you sue to recover penalties specified by the contract, as well as incidental and consequential costs.

Mechanics’ Liens

All contractors and suppliers on a real property improvement project in New York can avail themselves of the protection of mechanics’ liens. These are not only for subcontractors and contractors but also for other businesses supplying to the project or working on it, such as landscape gardeners, nurserymen, laborers, and businesses providing trees or plants to be installed on the project. In order to claim a mechanic’s lien, you need to be licensed to perform the work, and you must be authorized to do business in the state. The defendant needs to be identified within the claim.

Unlicensed Contractors

It is crucial to ensure that contractors and subcontractors are qualified to do certain types of work. It is also important for contractors and subcontractors to be properly licensed, since their remedies can be affected by a failure to obtain the proper license. In New York, if a contractor in a home improvement contract does not have a license, they are barred from recovering either contract or quantum meruit damages. Our New York construction attorneys know that complying strictly with the licensing law is necessary, regardless of how well the contractor performed the work under contract, and regardless of whether the homeowner knew that the contractor had no license.

Fraud

Fraud is sometimes a problem on construction sites. If a contractor misrepresents itself in the bidding process, in connection with the contract, or in connection with the work, it might be possible to sue for fraud, rather than just breach of contract. For example, if a contractor specifies a higher-end tile on a bid and then uses shoddier materials when doing the actual work but tries to pass them off as the higher-end tiles, it may be possible to sue for damages. Generally, a plaintiff needs to establish a false statement of material fact, knowledge of the falsity of the statement, intent to induce the plaintiff to act, reliance, and damages arising out of the reliance on the false statement.

Hire an Experienced Construction Lawyer in New York

If you are facing a construction dispute, or if you are considering pursuing litigation in this industry, you should consult Kupillas & Unger. We represent clients in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as on Long Island and in New York City’s collar counties. You can reach us at (212) 655-9536 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I highly recommend this law firm. Attorneys Unger and Benjamin battled a real estate scammer who defrauded me out of substantial money. They were able to get a good result for me after the defendants put up numerous obstacles and delays over 18 months. And they were honest with me regarding their upfront and contingency fees. Definitely hire this firm if you are a victim of fraud or breach of contract. Rebekah W.
★★★★★
Over the years I have had dealings with many of attorneys and I can honestly say that Mr. Benjamin is the best lawyer I have ever worked with. He's conscientious, and takes care of your case as if his own interests were at stake. He's professional, always answered my calls and takes the time to discuss the best course to take. Everything was done timely and efficiently. I couldn't be happier with the result. I wish they were all like him. The best decision I made was to use him for all my legal needs. Nancy O.