All right. Good evening everybody. It is 5:00 o’clock here in New Orleans. See you in court. My name is Seth smiley. We are here you know on WGN so and W.G.. Dot com as always on Wednesday. Today’s Wednesday April 19th it looks like Niigata nice weather outside here in New Orleans today has been nice weather all week and this is see you in court. And my name is Seth smiley. I’m a lawyer here in New Orleans and I work at the smiley law firm and we focus on construction law construction litigation and we help folks with contracts in pretty much every phase of the construction process. And so you know we do also do business litigation and personal injury if in this five o’clock hour we like to take callers and we also have a text line if anybody wants to text in the call line is 5 0 4 5 5 6 9 6 9 6 and the text line is 5 0 4 5 7 9 8 9 8 5. And so if if anybody wants to call and we can work with our producer and we can get you know you guys on the air talk about any legal issues that you may have and anything that’s you know pertinent going on your life or your business with regard to the law. And you know that that’s basically why we have this legal program here.
WGA in WGA so dotcom today we’re going to be talking about a couple of different issues with regards to just general legal issues licensing construction contracts payment issues and some of the other things that I’m involved with here in the city and things that are going on. So basically you know the story of my firm and I we you know we’ve been around in the region a little over 10 years and I’ve been doing construction law since the very beginning. And part of that is you know the founder of the firm person I bought it from. He comes from a construction background and I also do as well. My father was a contractor in south Louisiana and I spent the summers you know slaving away.
You know for very little money working for my dad and. And. But it taught me good things told me hard work ethic and the fact that you know I need to get in doors in and work real hard to try to try to stay in the AC as opposed to working out on the hot roofs.
But I really appreciate people who do that and I have a great respect for that. And so and occasionally and my wife my wife doesn’t like it when I get out on the roof as well myself. So anyway. So we’re be talking about some different topics here over the course of the next hour. Now this show is divided into four segments and we have about it 10 minute segments we have two on the first half of the show that leads into the bottom of the hour. And then two to kind of bring us back around the horn.
So you know without further ado here we go.
I was I was trying to look for some some interesting legal news that’s going on. There’s a whole lot of things out there a lot of it is pretty high level Department of Justice. You know a lot of it in involving political issues that are going on right now. Those those things are ok. I like to focus in on a lot more local aspects about what’s going on and I also like to focus on you know what my contractors that I represent homeowners that I represent property owners are. What they’re what they’re seeing and what they’re dealing with on the day to day basis so we will sometimes get into some of that higher level stuff but not always. And and again if anybody wants to call in the numbers 5 0 4 5 5 6 9 6 9 6 and the TX line is 5 0 4 5 7 9 8 9 8 5. So we brought on a criminal attorney here before I’ll see you in court and talk to some local news regarding that. You know and then we’ve gone through a lot of different subjects with regards to litigation and how the how the how this process works. And I was actually at a lunch learned today over at Gulf Coast Bank on Carrollton. We had we do some banking there we actually do banking with a couple of different local banks and in one major region or nationwide bank like the local banks because you get much more of a personal feel.
And so we were over lunch and learned today with an architect and some engineers and then a couple of different contractors and it was interesting just to hear some of the concerns and some of the issues that you know that folks are facing that are out there on the ground. You know just with regarding different things that they have with license issues or contract issues you know a lot of people kind of don’t go into doing construction you know and get a huge contract.
Many pages long and very in-depth.
They kind of just wing it until they get to the point where they can start doing some business and then get in some money and then all of a sudden you know the more revenue you generate the more exposure you put yourself out there too. And so sometimes it can it can circle back around and kind of kind of bite you in whenever that happens you want to make sure you have a good contract in place. And so I was kind of you know I like to talk about payment issues and in collecting from people when they haven’t paid you money but a lot of these contractors were you know they were talking to me like hey you know I need to get that good a good letter you know to send to people when they don’t pay me. But then you know they were conned. The questions were a lot of them are geared towards hey I need to get a contract I need to make sure that I have a good contract written or need to write a check the one that I’m working on. So at Smiley law firm we do that type of thing all the time. We get folks who come in depending on how long the contract is. Pages wise we will review it and we can alert you and let you know if there are issues that need to be addressed or if there are other other things going on with the contract that either need to be revised or changed or put new language in there. Many times we can do that type of work on a flat fee.
Other times you know it’ll be you know your standard hourly if the agreement or some other type of alternative fee agreement and the contract is the most important thing we actually devoted a whole show here a few weeks ago to contract issues. Because I mean it is the law between the parties. And so you know construction is is it can be very lucrative. It can also be very very problematic. And so whenever folks don’t have a good contract it can get them in trouble. And and you know I always always say it’s a mess by the time it hits my desk and that’s extremely accurate. So so yeah I mean is it getting out in going over to Gulf Coast today and visiting you know with the bankers and hearing you know they had lenders there they had commercial bankers they had a whole bunch of different folks visiting with those people really made. You know it really it really solidified and you know the need for you know a lot of preventative work or not a lot but you know some preventative work that actually helps. It’s a small amount of work in the front end that actually helps a larger amount of work on the back end and an in in there was really good to just really hear that from those folks and kind of take their temperature on what’s going on on the ground. And it seems like there’s also a lot of new and interesting things that are coming to the city. Some new programs that are out there trying to get folks involved more in in the construction process. And you know some things that are coming to the city that are very promising.
You know there is some things going on in Gentilly that HUD is putting a bunch of money towards that are really really seem like it’s going to be kind of a bellwether for the rest of the country that could potentially you know generate a lot of revenue and they could provide a lot of a lot of housing in whatnot for everybody around the city. So
we were getting down to the first segment here and we’re about to go to break like in this to set smiley would see you in court and we’re here on WAGA WAGA so dot com.
Welcome back everybody. This is Seth smiley and you’re listening to see you in court. This is the drive time. Wednesday talk show regarding legal matters and legal issues going on here in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. And you know we’d like to talk about a bunch different things we were we were talking about contractors and you know issues that are facing them in the first segment and we have three more segments left and it got me thinking Oh come on you know different topics.
We were discussing earlier today some of the different issues and things that are coming out here in the future. And now one of them just kind of kind of keeps on the same beat of earlier has to do with fortified homes. I don’t know if anybody’s ever heard of this. And just briefly before we jump into this if anybody does want to call in the phone lines are open and the phone number is 5 4 5 5 6 9 6 9 6 that’s the call listener line and then the text line if anybody with the text in any information that they want to have read on the air or have something discussed that number is 5 0 4 5 7 9 8 9 8 5. And this is Debbie GSO 990 AM in WGN so damn calm.
So one of the things that kind of went over there to talk to the doctors about licensing in the contractor’s board and all that. And then we started getting on to you know systematic changes and just cultural changes when it comes to the way we just you know we build homes here in New Orleans in the south and in basically you know the normal situation is homeowner goes to a bank they try to figure out how much or not a homeowner if they’re doing the renovation or a home buyer home builder that goes to a bank and they say OK you know how much can I qualify for. And the bank runs their numbers and gives them a number so you qualify for an x amount and then they go out and they try to find a builder or a lot or you know something of that nature and try to put together plans and specs and get the contractor in the contract to to construct this new home. And basically you know it’s it’s price per square foot kind of thing typically in you know energy efficiency and quality of the home and all that you know tends to tensest to scale along with how much money is being spent per square foot on the home and the smaller the home the more and the more you spend the more high and high end it is.
And the bigger the home with the less per square foot and the lower quality it is potentially And so we were going over some of the different building mechanisms and different strategies that are good and not so good. And there was you know it’s really frustrating that you know as a as a as a culture and as a as an area we we you know we try to get the most bang for our buck. Everyone does it’s just human nature. And so bank tells you you qualify for this much and you go out to the builder and the builder says you know we can build you this kind of house for this much money and you know that’s pending any change orders and all types of things like that. But it’s unfortunate because the homeowner wants to try to get every square foot they can you know set up in 7500. They want it to be you know 1500 square feet or you know 200. They want it to be 2400 square feet. And so when you do that you potentially are going to lose out. You know the pool of money is only so big and so then you know you can’t get a spray foam insulation you have to do standard insulation or you can’t get you know certain type of quality of insulated windows you have to go you know a little bit lesser quality and then it just goes on and on and on from there.
And then the problem is as a culture where we’re building you know and the builder wants to just build the same old things that he’s been building because his profit margins are good on those. And he has to warranty the work and so he wants to warranty something he has been doing for a long time. We have a thing in Louisiana called the new home warranty Act which governs all new construction. And so the new home warranty act if it’s a good it’s a good set of laws and it’s a good you know it’s not it’s not the best.
There’s definitely some issues with it but it’s something that was enacted by homeowners. You know the lobbyist for homeowners and individual consumers and then also by residential contractors they have their own lobbying efforts as well. And so they got together and you know in the last 20 years or so in pass legislation to create the new home warranty act and and it’s it’s it’s you know overall I again are saying it’s a good it’s a good set of rules and and actually it looks like it’s been a long about 30 years now but basically you know they they’ve.
There used to be a time limit out as far as 10 years and then now they’ve kind of shrunk those down and now it’s you know the major structural defects time period has been has been cut down significantly. And so it is a little problematic and it is a little frustrating that you know the lobbying efforts of lowered the warranty act whenever you are relating to actual homeowners. You know sometimes they don’t they don’t know if you know a major structural defect is something that manifests itself in that that amount of time. But you know and we have these one in two and five year warranty periods under the Act. And so it can be it can be a little frustrating. You know basically the one year warranty it starts after substantial completion or when the actual home is put to its ordinary use. And the one year set is going to be free of any defect due to noncompliance with the building standards. Basically for other defects in workmanship so basically punches the items and then it says the two year period is for you know your basic plumbing electrical heating cooling ventilating systems exclusive of any appliance or fixture. So that’s basically H-back system goes out or your Which is your AC or your you know something goes really wrong in your electrical and so you have two years from when the home was completed. Exercise anything under that warranty. And then finally the five year warranty which are the major structural defects and then that that goes that affects the. And I have a laundry list.
It’s a foundation systems beams girders lintels columns walls and partitions floor systems and roofing systems. These numbers used to be higher if it used to be. It used to be one in three and 10 I believe or maybe even one in five and 10 and then they slowly reduce over time.
It’s good because you know if you’re a contractor you don’t necessarily want to have to be warranting a house for 10 years. Now your furnace will learn warranty is out five years. And so insurance companies have had or had an effect on that as well. But you know when we’ve litigated this and especially when we had the Chinese drywall houses we’d litigated one where it was it was approaching on that five year limit. And the problem was that the defect was in the drywall right. And so they had that salt for those in the drywall and it was creating the smell and deteriorating the wires and doing all those horrible things to the homes making them essentially unlivable and who knows what the actual fumes are doing to people’s insides. And and so we had a chance to litigate that. And the problem was the courts didn’t see it that way. They did not see that the actual dry wall fell into any of the foundation systems or footings beams girders and pools columns walls partitions which is very interesting because they didn’t say it was a part of the wall or partition because it was just a piece of drywall and it wasn’t the it wasn’t the wall system which which you know it was it was it was litigated in a field and then held up on appeal which is very very frustrating and very frustrating for the homeowner. At the end of the day the homeowner ended up being OK because there was there was a massive federal suit that was going on and they were able to collect.
But you know it’s just one of those things that you just never know and you always want to be very careful of what we’re here on our second break.
Coming up coming up right now and in we’ll be back at the bottom half of the hour. For more on the court. Again my name is finally the WGA So a WGA dot com.
All righty. Welcome back everybody.
This is Seth smiley and this is see you in court. We had a heck of a technical difficulty with my microphone fix that during the break so hopefully everybody can hear me a little bit better. Looks like we were kind of going on about the the Louisiana new home warranty act in the last hour and we were kind of talking about the different provisions with regard to the time periods. The new home warranty act is like I said it was a it’s a it’s it’s a good set of rules that you know everyone knows if you’re dealing in new construction that that’s a bowl. And so it’s one of those that it’s not wonderful or great or whatever but it’s what we have and what we use and so it’s it’s it’s it’s a decent set of rules. And so the good thing is it’s the exclusive set and everybody knows what you know what the rules are and how to play within the boundaries. And so we should be good to go.
And my office deals with this type of thing all the time and we deal with contractors and we deal with homeowners and everybody in between who need you know advice or need to deal with their new home situation and it can be kind of tricky. You know every year most of the time for most of the issues. But you know you have to send a certified letter via certified mail return receipt or just certified mail and it has to be sent with the punch list items and all that.
And so it’s one of the things if you don’t abide by all the you know stringent requirements it might be something that you can get tripped up on.
Another area of the law that did somewhat you know encompasses the new home warranty act. Well it’s called The Private Works Act and so it takes into account any and all privately owned jobs.
And so that’s anything from the Sheraton or the Marriott downtown which are owned by those respective companies all the way to somebody’s private home or you know just a renovation on a on a on a boat camp down and you know down in coquetry or somewhere.
So in the reason why I’m bringing it up is because we deal with that particular act a lot.
There’s basically two two divisions where construction projects lie. There’s technically three but you really only see two for the most part.
There’s there’s private and there’s public. And the third is the federal government. Then those are governed by the Miller act and we just do in practice. We don’t see a lot more maybe they’re getting paid maybe not. But at the same time you know the private works act it covers everything you know in the private realm and again before I get too far into this I want to you know make sure that all the listeners know that they can call in to the show.
We have our listener on line which is 5 0 4 5 5 6 9 6 9 6. Or you can text in at 5 0 4 5 7 9 8 9 8 5 and have a couple of listeners out there that are tuned into the show right now. My sons use smiley and Luke smiley and also my wife Jennifer smiley so I want to get a shout out to them. They always like to hear their name on the radio so I always like to do that and let her know that you know I’m come home and wrestle with them and have lots of fun to shoot and basketballs and playing golf.
So anyway back on to the exciting world of the new home warranty act and lean law or not even that the private works act. And if anybody ever wants to get off topic and talk about something you know we’re not specifically discussing here I’m happy to do so regardless.
The the private works act is something that we see a ton of just because most of the most of the work is privately owned.
And so we there are notices that are required depending on your role in the project.
And then you know the most important thing is that the law that’s associated with it.
And so lean law is where you go. It goes back you know. And I’ve talked about this before too the days of Thomas Jefferson and the founding of our country. And basically it gives people rights on property that they wouldn’t otherwise have. And you know say you’re a material supplier and you supply to you know a roofer and then the rivers work for general contractor and then owner decides he’s not going to pay or say the roofer goes bankrupt you know you’re the material supplier you need to try to find out a way to get paid if you file your lien then you can sue everybody including or excluding the person who went bankrupt and potentially even sell the property to get paid. So it’s a very very very powerful tool but it’s seldom used or seldom properly used and good contractors use it all the time good to contractors know what they’re doing. They have legal counsel that helps them out. Some of it do it in-house.
Some of them farm them out to various companies like me you know prompted lean preparation companies like Zeppelin and dot.com and then you know they they do a great job trying to get those different things accomplished for for the clients and then when it really hits the fan that’s when they give me a call so you know that’s kind of our bread and butter and we file liens here locally in Orleans Parish Jefferson Parish St. Bernard St. Tammany and you know even up in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area areas Livingston ascention you know all those different places and so we have a lot of issues going on with the flooded houses right now near Baton Rouge in Livingston and Sinjin parishes and then we’ve been doing a lot of work down here in the metro area for many many years.
And so the the private work act is a you know it’s it’s in itself it’s a good one.
It has some definitely some ambiguities that are in there and some things that kind of make you scratch your head as an attorney to kind of wonder why they wrote it that way. But but by and large it’s something that you know it’s it’s very good and it gives us the rules that we need to play by and many times folks don’t abide by the rules.
So you know it’s it’s Lean’s can help because they really do force all the parties to wake up and pay attention.
And so some of the issues that we’re having right now are say on like a flooded home contractor goes out does work and the homeowner gets their insurance payment and they decide that they would rather keep the insurance payment. Or you know maybe not pay the contractor in total or maybe pay him partially.
And so in the end correct. So for example say somebody comes out and you know does $30000 with worked for your house send you an invoice and you get your insurance proceeds of around you know 30 40000 or maybe more if you have more a larger scope of work going on and the homeowner decides that they don’t like the work or they just want to keep the money which it happened a ton after Katrina and it’s happening now. Up in the flooded areas. And you know that’s a lot that’s a lot of cash for these people. And so sometimes they don’t always want to pay. Well the lien can allow someone to go out and they file it and it’s filed in the mortgage records and it’s on the property.
And so many times on these insurance checks the mortgage company has to be listed on the check. And so if the mortgage company is listed in the homeowner’s listed the mortgage company will not release any more checks if there are liens on the property because the lien is an encumbrance on the title it’s a cloud on the title of the property.
And so that can be a very very powerful tool because it can literally shut down and stop all payments until that issue is resolved. And so you know I was kind of talking about the homeowner in a negative way on that in that first example. But that pendulum can swing the other way and contractors know this. And so sometimes the contractor can be seen in a negative light because they’re running out and filing liens or filing liens that are too high or you know didn’t didn’t have the right documentation filed ahead of time so they don’t actually have lien rights in order to essentially hold the client’s construction project hostage because they know that they have it.
It’ll tie up the mortgage the mortgage company and the insurance proceeds won’t get distributed to the homeowner. So there’s this there’s this delicate back and forth of basically a fight over the insurance money. And you know who gets to keep it and who’s it entitled to and all that and lawyers.
You know we get in there and we get involved a lot of times and we can help sort it out or we can help make things a lot worse. All right. And so we have only a few more seconds here before we have our break so we’ll continue to talk about you know the situations with liens and how they can affect people and their property and the different outcomes that can happen once once the lawyers get involved.
So again my name is Seth smiley.
This is see you in court. If anyone wants to join us here on W.J.. So in w just dot com please give us a call. We’ll see you after the break. All righty Welcome back everybody.
This is. See you in court. My name is Seth smiley and we’re broadcasting live here from downtown New Orleans on GSO and W.G.. Oh dot com that’s 990 AM on your radio dial.
We’re wrapping up talking about you know different situations with regards to leins and and how they affect people you know on a day to day basis of whether or not you’re the owner of a property or you’re the contractor that was filing the lien. And it really is substantial and it really you know there are plenty of issues that are out there and if it’s one of those tools where if it’s used correctly and used properly it can be you know extremely It can be extremely beneficial. And you know there’s a higher percentage of liens that get paid off in full or at least you know partial payments and whatnot. So it’s it’s something that’s very good to have and knowledge of it is very important. And so if you’re ever faced with anything like that you know please give my company call Smiley law firm smile a law firm dot com. We are good at getting liens removed that were improperly filed and we’re also good at filing liens to get paid on projects where you worked real hard and been paid.
And so I kind of want to switch gears here in the last segment in the last you know five to six minutes that we have and I want to talk about a program that I’m involved in now. It’s a really good program for the city of New Orleans and just you know generally for the nation it’s called the Goldman Sachs 10000 small businesses and they have they have a number of different locations I guess over across the across the country.
And it just so happens that New Orleans has has a location. And so basically they have you know they have one here in Delgado and it’s a program that you have to apply for as a small business owner. And basically it is a program that it kind of helps you know teach business owners how to how to work on their business not necessarily in their business all the time to be better business owners so they can grow and thrive and help make our our area a better place. And so that they kind of went you know Goldman Sachs decided they want to put a bunch of money towards this and really help fuel growth in America and in basically and as of today they have 33 sites across the United States in the U.K. and it looks like they have they’ve served over 7000 small businesses currently from all states in the union and so they have one here locally they have one in Miami Houston various other cities around the country. And and you know it’s extremely valuable. I was a little hesitant going into it. What kind of value I was going to get from it. And basically Goldman Sachs paired up with Babson College which is one of the one of the premier entrepreneur universities. It’s up in the northeast and near Boston. And basically if you want to be an entrepreneur that’s the college that you should be going to because they you know they develop. They put out some of the best. And so the program is focused on job creation and growing revenue.
And you know basically that whole semester where I’ve had to take off you know one day a week essentially go over there for eight or nine hours to Delgado and sit in essentially a classroom setting. But you know we also interact in groups and do a lot of other interesting things. And it’s extremely positive.
And they teach you about being a leader they teach you about how to you know do your books and money and metrics and they also teach you about you know how to run your company from an H.R. perspective. They teach you how to develop processes for your company how to market your company how to increase your sales and just you know various About 10 9 or 10 modules and you know some other interactive learning sessions and you partner with groups and then we have over 30 over 30 pitches in my particular cohort and they have three of these a year. So you’re looking. They’re churning out about 100 businesses a year. With this you know there’s great knowledge that Goldman Sachs is essentially paying for the investment giant. And then you know we’re getting the curriculum from one of the best schools in the country. And so it’s it’s a fantastic program. I’ve benefited from it a lot thus far I’m in the spring of 2017 cohort number 16 and it started in January and it ends here next week. And basically to be eligible you have to go online to there you can Google Goldman Sachs 10000 small businesses and you get to fill out an application and basically you have to be the owner or co-owner of your business. You have to have been in operation for at least two years. You have to have generated annual sales or revenues of above $150000 in the most recent year. And then you have to have at least four employees that full time part time or contract including the owner.
So not too stringent but they basically don’t want. They want to make sure it’s not just a one man shop. Even though I know some guys who are one man shop and they do annual annual sales of much higher than that. So it’s a great it’s a great program. The folks over Delgado are very good.
And you know they they they do a great job handling everything and really kind of kind of getting the different business owners to gel and it’s really hard as a business owner to remove yourself from your business.
There are a lot of fires that need to be dealt with from day to day. A lot of issues that you know you think as a business owner you need to have input on constantly. And then all of a sudden you start to pull yourself away a little bit and say Hey these things can go on without me. And it’s quite just that aspect is very enlightening.
So as a business owner of Smiley law firm you know I’m actually I’m very proud to be a part of the 16th cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10000 small businesses.
And I think it’s a very valuable program I’m going to continue to promote it whether or not it’s on whether or not it’s on my website or on anything else that I’m involved with.
Now I’m getting a call in the background and so Goldman-Sachs in small businesses is a very good deal and it’s very positive for our community and it not only teaches you about growing a business but it also talks about getting giving back to the community and giving back to the you know the kind of the folks who got you there and you know the different industries that you’re in partnering up with other business owners who are like minded who are trying to grow their business and they’re trying to grow themselves and and really contribute back to the community that we’re in because you know the only way to really make New Orleans better and really make New Orleans thrive and prosper is if we all work together to try to row the boat in the right direction toward prosperity as opposed to continuing on the path of negativity. So I wanted I wanted to take this segment this time to promote Goldman Sachs and promote Delgado Community College. And the folks there who are running that program they really do a phenomenal job. And you know it’s one of those things where I’m proud to be a member of it. And you know I think the quality of product that they put out. You know if I if I find a business is a Goldman Sachs graduate then you know automatically in my mind they’re going to they’re going to be a little bit higher on the tear just because I know that they’ve been experienced to things in education that I have been and you know they’re on some sense going to be able to get it more than you know just your average business owner.
So I think it’s a very good program and hopefully we’ll be able to see you know the benefits of it with smile the law firm over the next couple of years. They make you look you look ahead.
You know one three five years down the road. And so hopefully we can hit our targets and and really you know make the make the program proud.
And I’m sure we will regardless of what happened. But anyway I wanted to divert into that a little bit here on the show.
In our last few minutes and then you know if there’s anybody out there who has any issues that are going on you know here in the city with regard to any legal issues that they’re having. Please feel free to contact smile law firm our numbers 5 0 4 8 9 4 9 6 5 3
Call Us Today: 504.894.9653