October 2018 Newsletter Print

You Are Invited to.....

Our Members Invite You to Their Upcoming Events

Presented by
Gordon Reese 
Owner of Gordon Reese Design Build
President of NARI Diablo Valley
Time & Date: 
Saturday, October 27, 2018
(10:00am - 11:30am)
Gordon Reese Design Build,
3021 Citrus Circle #170, Walnut Creek CA
Spots available around building Cost: COMPLIMENTARY - Seating is limited, RSVP is required. Coffee, Light Refreshments, Bagels, Fruit & Sandwiches will be provided.
Gordon Reese will give a short presentation on how to get a remodel started and the challenges involved with a home remodeling project: - How do I get started? - How do I make sure that the construction costs do not exceed my budget? - How do I know the decisions I make are the right ones? - Is design really necessary? What are the costs? - What does the city require for permits and what are the costs? - What are mechanic's liens and how do I protect myself? With Gordon having more than 34 years of experience, you will take home priceless insights for your next remodeling project.  

Invites you to celebrate a roaring twenties Gatsby style

November 1, 2018 (Thursday) 

6:00 - 8:30PM

The Plumbery

6694 Amador Plaza Rd., Dublin, CA 94568

Please RSVP to ks-events.us@franke.com

6070 Johnson Drive, Suite B
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 961-9870

Come See the Reveal of the Beko Brand!

Elite Appliance Showrooms invites you to join them as they welcome Beko to their
family of brands on :

Friday November 2, 2018
 6pm - 8pm
6070 Johnson Drive, Suite B
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 961-9870

Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will be served

Attend & have a chance to win a Turksih Coffee Maker!

Please RSVP: Kwam@goelite.com or Hazel@goelite.com

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Government Affairs

OSHA's Silica Exposure Rule - Free Webinar

Date: October 30   Time: 1 pm ET

Understand the specific requirements of the silica exposure rule and the steps you should take to stay in compliance.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s crystalline silica rule is now in effect for general industry, construction, and maritime. The rule is one of the most significant in the Agency’s history and enforcement has begun. Employers should be reviewing their exposures and programs NOW to ensure full compliance. This topic helps employers understand the specific requirements of the rule and how recent interpretations of the rule by the Agency impact the rule’s application in a wide variety of work environments. The material also explains how OSHA is initially enforcing the rule and key compliance steps employers should be taking initially. This information is critical for employers, so they can ensure their compliance efforts for this important rule of in place in the event OSHA comes knocking.

Learning Objectives - You will be able to discuss key requirements for OSHA's Crystalline Silica Rule, be able to explain OSHA enforcement focus, be able to identify medical surveillance, and be able to review the keys to compliance

Register Now
Can't Attend?
No problem. Register anyway and you'll receive a recording of the webinar.

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Get Certified!

Did you know the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that certified professionals earn 25% more than their non-certified counterparts?

How about that 80% of customers would choose to work with a remodeling professional who is certified over one who is not?

Gain this professional advantage through NARI Certification.

Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP)
 Starts October 30, 2018

The Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP) Online Course will develop your knowledge in the fundamentals of Universal Design

  • Conducting client needs assessments
  • Universal design applications used in residential remodeling
  • Construction techniques used to implement universal design to a remodeling project
  • Plumbing and electrical systems unique to universal design
  • Differences between model building codes and ones described in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

for information on more classes click here

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Legal News

Contributed by Bryant Byrnes of The Law Office of Bryant Byrnes and Brian Trowbridge of Trowbridge Law Office.

A Primer on the Sinister Mysteries of Litigation (Part 1)

We recently had a call from a subcontractor who found himself involved in litigation – for the first time in over 30 years of practicing his trade.  The matter began when his general contractor filed a lawsuit against a homeowner for breach of contract of a home improvement contract and damages.  The homeowner then filed a cross-complaint against the general contractor and all of his multiple subcontractors - including our client - for breach of contract.

          Generally Speaking.  This kind of litigation is unfortunate but not uncommon.  I call them “rich tech guy versus general contractor and the universe” cases.  (The homeowner in this case may or may not be a tech fellow; I don’t know.)

          Chronology/Procedure.  Here, my subcontractor had been sued by the homeowner as a “named” cross-defendant in the homeowner’s cross-complaint. 

          We went online to review the county Superior Court’s Register of Actions for this case.  The Register is a list of the various legal papers the various parties have filed with the court.  The court record of filings thus far, even at this early stage in the case, was copious.  It is six pages of probably a hundred-plus documents.  (Zounds!)

          The “complaint” was filed by the general contractor against the homeowner.  A complaint is the first document that formally commences a lawsuit.  The general contractor alleged a breach of contract by the homeowner and requested approximately $200,000 in damages.  (There was also a mechanic’s lien by the general contractor previously recorded on the homeowner’s property.) 

          Thereafter, there was a lot of legal jousting by counsel over mostly preliminary and technical matters.  These include who should properly be a party in this litigation. 

          As a result of this jousting, the general contractor then filed a “first amended complaint” .  The original complaint was amended by the general contractor to include and exclude parties and modify its theory of its case.

          Then the homeowner filed a “cross-complaint”.  A cross-complaint is what it sounds like.  It is where the defendant in the original complaint brings his own lawsuit.  Our subcontractor’s company was named as a party, as a “cross-defendant”, in this cross-complaint. 

          Why was the subcontractor named as a cross-defendant?  The subcontractor was probably included by the homeowner’s attorneys in both an abundance of caution and as a tactical/strategical maneuver.

          The abundance of caution is that the subcontractor might have done something that constitutes a breach of contract and/or negligence.  The tactical/legal strategy for the homeowner is one to get as many other parties into the lawsuit involved as possible. 

           Insurance.  Subcontractors in these kinds of lawsuits are often named in the hope that they will “tender” the claim to their liability insurance.  If the insurance accepts the claim, it will then provide counsel for the course of the lawsuit.  Generally, the greatest expense in this kind of litigation is not a settlement dollar amount but the cost of counsel. 

          The insurer may also offer money to settle the case and be dropped from the lawsuit.  Settlement sums offered may be small but contribute to an overall bigger pile of money.

          If a subcontractor’s insurance does not accept the claim, then the cross-complainant is hopeful that the subcontractor itself will still contribute some kind of payment to extract itself from the lawsuit. 

          Service of Process.  To formally engage another person or entity as a party in a lawsuit, the complaining party in either the complaint or the cross-complaint must “serve” the party it wishes to bring into the action.  “Service of process” is the formal title this action.  It can be achieved in a number of ways.  A process server will often “personally” serve the legal papers on the party – that is, hand the documents to the person.

          One usually has 30 days from that date of service of process to respond to the complaint (or cross-complaint) in some fashion – usually an “answer”.  It thus is important to be vigilant; once served, contact your attorney immediately. 

          What’s Next After Service of Process?  In this instance there are about 25 parties (by my count) named in the action at this time.  That includes the general contractor, the homeowner, and 23 subcontractors and/or consultants.  Typically, once all parties are served and properly in the lawsuit (or dismissed and properly out of the case), the parties will commence “discovery”. 

          Discovery is the process of gathering information and can be lengthy.  A party may request documents from the other parties, ask written questions, and take “depositions”.  A deposition is the questioning by counsel of a party and/or a witness, which is recorded. 

          At the end of discovery – which can go on for many months - the matter is ready to go to trial.  A case can be (and usually is) settled before an actual trial.  The trial date is usually at least a year after the complaint was filed.

          Your Liability Insurance.  Should you inform your insurer of the lawsuit (if you have not already done so)?  This is called “tendering the claim”. 

          We advise you to do so (although talk to your attorney first, and immediately after being served with a lawsuit).  Indeed, an insured is typically required to report a lawsuit by the terms of its insurance policy.  You are also required to give your insurance folk your full cooperation.

          Tender Early/Tender Often.  As stated, we suggest you contact an attorney to help you with tendering the claim.  Then, you can call your broker and explain what has happened, and ask your broker where the tender should be sent.  When you speak with your broker, take notes of the conversation.  And then follow the call up with a written communication so that the reporting of the claim is memorialized. 

          An important question is whether your insurance carrier will accept your “tender” and provide counsel.  This depends on the insurance policy itself and the types of claims that have been made.  An attorney can help you frame your tender letter in a manner most likely to get you an insurance appointed attorney to defend you in the action.  More on this in a later article.

          Conclusion.  This article is of course overly simplistic.  However, we hope it gives you the gist of what has happens initially in litigation and what might happen next.  While we hope you never are involved in a lawsuit, it does happen – be sure to take steps to protect yourself.  If you are served with a lawsuit, you should contact an attorney immediately.  


Bryant H. Byrnes, Esq. practices construction law in the San Francisco Bay Area and is counsel to the San Francisco NARI Board of Directors.  Brian J. Trowbridge, Esq. of Trowbridge Law Office practices construction law, business law, succession and estate planning, and employment law in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Questions? Feel free to contact Bryant by email at Bryant@bryantbyrnes.com.  Brian’s website is www.trowbridgelawoffice.com and you can email him at btrowbridge@trowbridgelawoffice.com.

For Bryant and Brian’s previous articles, please visit SFBA NARI’s website and click on the link “In the News/Newsletter” under “For the Trade.” They are also available on his website under “Articles,” and on Brian’s website under “Publications.”  As always, these articles are summary discussions only - to simply give you a heads up on various construction topics.  The information contained herein is not legal advice.

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Golf Tournament

Save The Date - May 3, 2019 Annual Charity Golf Tournament!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 Annual Charity Golf Tournament!
Sponsors, Golfers, and the many that donated raffle prizes & swag bag items!
We couldn't have done it without you!

Thank you ACE Sponsor!

Thank you PAR Sponsors

Thank you TEE Sponsors

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Newsletter Publishing Information

NARI of Diablo Valley
Newsletter Publishing Information
The NARI of Diablo Valley Newsletter is published monthly by the Diablo Valley Chapter of NARI, Inc.   Copyright 2018.  All rights reserved.  Statements of fact and opinion contained herein are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily of the options or agreement of the Editor, Board of Directors, staff or membership of NARI of Diablo Valley.
responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily of the options or agreement of the Editor, Board of Directors, staff or membership of NARI of Diablo Valley.
 Comments/Questions: Please send an email to: chapterexec@naridiablovalley.org.  Thank you for your continued support.
Christine Cummings-Walters
Executive Director
NARI of Diablo Valley

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