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Picture this: A homeowner, Tom, contracts with New Orleans Home Repair Service (NOHRS), to repair hurricane damages to his home in New Orleans. Tom makes an initial down payment of $20,000.00, and although the payment is late according to the contract, things proceed and NOHRS begins repairs on the home. Tom finds a contractor for a better price and terminates the contract with NOHRS, neglecting to pay NOHRS for the work already performed. NOHRS then sues Tom for money owed under the contract. NOHRS wins in trial court, but Tom appeals. The court of appeals finds that La. Civil Code art. 2765 provides the homeowner had the right to terminate the contract, but he must pay the contractor for work completed before termination.

No matter which side of that dispute you are on, you would need an attorney to sort through all of those complex legal issues — just a simple example of the wisdom in aquiring a construction lawyer.

If you are a general contractor, subcontractor, material supplier or even a lessor of equipment used on a project, you may want to file a mechanic’s lien to ensure payment on a project. An experienced Louisiana construction law attorney can prepare the required documents as well as file and enforce mechanic’s liens. For more information on Mechanic’s Liens, see this informative page.

Reviewing the complex process of filing suit in New Orleans is the best illustration of why you will need a construction attorney.

  1. Consult with an attorney: An experienced construction law attorney will not only know the applicable laws, they will also be able to plan out the best strategies for your suit.
  2. Draft the Complaint: In New Orleans, Louisiana, the first step in initiating a lawsuit is drafting a complaint. Usually an initial complaint provides background information, a description of the dispute, details about how the injuries were suffered, and why the person being sued is responsible for those injuries. All complaints should end with a request for relief, which is a brief statement asking the court for some specific award or relief, such as monetary damages, an injunction, or performance of a contract.
  3. Service upon the Defendant: After filing the complaint with the appropriate court and paying the required filing fees, the complaint must then be served on the defendant. Service requirements are fairly strict, in that there are specific time and delivery rules.
  4. Await Defendant’s Response: Once the complaint is filed and the defendant is served and notified of the lawsuit, a waiting period begins, allowing the defendant to file an answer to the complaint. If the defendant doesn’t respond within a certain period of time, they are said to have “defaulted” and the court to enters a default judgment, causing the suit to end in favor of the plaintiff.

No need to sift through all of this on your own. If you are involved with any type of construction in Louisiana, you will need to contact an attorney, like the experienced attorneys at Smiley Law, today!

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Seth Smiley
Seth is an attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana and California. He is the owner and lead attorney at Smiley Law Firm. To speak with Seth fill out the form on this page.
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