Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Security for Your Lawsuit

Two weeks ago I obtained a judgment for a client against a contractor in the amount of $215,000.00. This included triple damages, attorney's fees, interest and costs. It was a great victory, but there is a problem: the defendant is virtually judgment-proof.

In any lawsuit, a cost-benefit analysis needs to be done to determine if it is worthwhile to pursue a claim against a defendant. The money spent has to be balanced against the ability to collect a judgment if it is obtained. The best way to secure a potential judgment is to move for prejudgment attachments. The most common asset to attach is real estate.

In Massachusetts, the plaintiff must demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits (the he or she will probably win), and that the defendant does not have liability insurance to satisfy a claim. It the attachment is done "ex parte" (without notice to the other side), the plaintiff must also show that the defendant is likely to convey the property if given notice, or that the defendant is not within the jurisdiction of the courts.

Homeowners or home contractors can move for prejudgment attachments, but home contractors have the mechanism of the mechanic's lien available to them, so in their case, it is more rare.

In almost all of my cases, I move to attach an asset, because no one wants a lawsuit to just be an exercise in frustration or waste of money. So, parties to an agreement should try to get as much information as they can about assets from the other side (properties owned, other jobs, motor vehicles, bank accounts) in order to protect themselves if something should go awry.

Although it may appear distrustful, it provides insurance in case something should go wrong. In a subsequent post, I will discuss mechanic's liens.

29 Comments:

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RW Hertel & Sons, Inc. of Ventura, CA is a builder who has been sued and sued and is under a State Investigation for building shoddy and below standard homes. We have learned the builder not only lies but conceals his assets, has many LLC's, LP's, LLP's Holding Companies and Inc.'s as well the issue is to locate his assets from Planes, Hotels, Family Trusts, Partners who hide his monies and His Insurance companies this builder will sue his own clients if they complain there New homes is full of defects and Mold so Tell the truth expose them and met with Federal Authorities over Fraud, Theft and Money Laundering. There are ways to get these Crooks in Jail and then got after there " Hidden" assets to satisfy your judgement. Hertel is a well known bad builder and is very dishonest.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the the same builder who is under State Probes for defective homes and making threats to owners who find mold in his crappy homes. He is also being sued by " The Arbors HOA" in San Luis Obispo, CA for building Leaking Homes with TOXIC MOLD !!!!!!!!!!! He is going to Eagle Point, Oregon to build under a new name " THE INN AT EAGLE POINT, LLC"
Watch out for RW Hertel Homes like El Jardin at Las Lomas too.

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good info, I too have had problems with this RW Hertel he builds cheap low standard homes covers up the defects, cheap materials, Mold and when you find the defects he runs and hides under other names so be careful if you ever want a nice home RW Hertel does NOT build good homes..

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RW Hertel & Sons which includes his front man Robert Fowler they have been ripping people off for years. According to State Building Officials they have a long and shady history of building substandard homes and have a vast amount of Lawsuits for Mold, Leaks in there homes all over the State. They have bought up in Eagle Point, Oregon hoping to hide their poor name but they are well known all over as a crappy cheap and dishonest builder who has a History of suing his buyers once they find Mold and defects in there homes so once again use inpectors (YOUR OWN) Hertel will lie, cheat, cover up, threaten and harass you....

 
At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron W. Hertel and his " Partner" Robert JS Fowler have a long history of building low standard homes so be warned RW Hertel & Sons will RIP you Off.....

 
At 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous! Couldn't miss your bad grammar! I see you have found another site to post all of your false and slanderous comments about Hertel on. It is SAD how much time you have on your hands to just waste. Surley you can find a better cause. You should really let this go it's not healthy, you are starting to look a little wacko! To readers of this blog: "ANONYMOUS" is an EX Hertel homeowner who is on a mission to ruin the company and its owners. He has entries on every site imagineable. He is notorious for mispellings and very bad grammar. His rhetoric includes homophobic slurs, racial remarks, accusations of drug trafficking,child porn, PONZI scams...the list is VERY long. He has quite a vivid imagination. He has even said that the owners children are involved in some of these crimes. But none of it is true. The truth is that two business men own a devlopment Co. They built some houses. The houses had leaks because the roofer messed up and noone caught it. they had an "anonymous" homeowner, who has been involved in numerous NATIONAL scandals. He turned his roof leaking into a state investigation! Sold his house. And now has nothing better to to than think up lies about these two men. He needs to get a life & his head examined.

 
At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, State Records and a State released press report show RW Hertel & Sons, Inc. is under a Probe and has built massive homes with defects from leaks to Mold to cracks etc.. in addition several Major Papers have ran stories exposing him for building cheap, below standard homes state wide. He has Lawsuits all over the State and continues to conceal and cover up his fraud and ponzi con on people who buy a Hertel home they are not only poorly built but many Notice's of defects have been issued all over the state on his poor quality building. Best thing is do hire your own inspector to conduct an indepth inspection of the homes, ! oh except Hertel does NOT allow that ? he does not want you to find his new crappy homes are below standard and poorly built. He will be in trial soon and wait until the Jury see's the evidence and testimony let alone the Evidence the many insurance companies, Investigators and CSLB have it will reveal one very bad lying cheap dishonest crooked builder that of RW hertel & Sons, Inc.

 
At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We got scammed for $1500 by a man from Adrian, PA. He never gave us back our bond money that was supposed to have been given to the Mobile-home Park owner in case of damage to the park...and returned after our mobile-home was towed away. He never gave it to the park owner, but cashed the check the same day we gave it to him.
We have civil as well as criminal charges filed against him, but little hope of remuneration.
Dishonest contractors are destroying the building industry for honest contractors. Our home can fall down around us before we hire another contractor.
Why is there NO law to prevent these guys from making themselves judgment-proof. If they can't repay...then send them to jail to do a stint...give us victims something to feel that justice is served. It's sooo very unfair.

 
At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really can't believe what I am reading here. I worked for Hertel a few years back and found the Company to be of the highest standards. I have fellow friends that worked for KB Homes and others that when I compared notes there building techniques were way below Hertels. I am just watching this from out of state where I am working for a world wide Contractor and cannot believe the ignorance and money hungry mob mentality.

RW Hertel may have problems in his past, but he put these projects together and pushed through innovative and quality projects in SLO, a very difficult slow growth County. Thats why the Houses there are worth so much. My experience is that people have problems and then the California mentality of cashing in somehow, comes to play.

When ever a House is built, things rarely go smoothly. It takes good people to steer any construction in the right direction. Hertel's Houses are very different from "The norm". Anyone who owns one knows that, the rooms are bigger, every conceivable new technology and amenity are included, but they use moderate appliances and standard tile feathers unless owners pay for more. On one project they included a Balcony off the Master Bedroom to take in a great view, but the roofing technique on the balcony failed in a few homes, is that shoddy building, not by a longshot. What happened after was that the roof/floor application was studied and corrected. In todays world there can almost be no sub-standard building. Builders use concrete, standard wood, newer siding, standard sheetrock and lots of different roofing systems. If a roofing subcontractor uses a cheaper paper, which is the foundation of all roofs then there might be problems down the line. But lying or making up stories about whose fault it is doesn't help at all, its counter productive.

I would think that all these unhappy owners would want to just resolve any issues and move on. By badmouthing and slandering Hertel, you devalue your own home, falsely.
How stupid is that. Well the only reason for it is that people think they can get paid off.
The postings I have seen about Hertel so far by one or two people are ludicrous, this bozo has insulted all the Hispanic workers and gone so far as to call company people child molesters. I would be very leary of anybody of extreme prejudice, this guy is a criminal or crazy.
I pull no punches when I say you owners are absolutely stupid to jump Hertel and try to badmouth this Company into submission, by blindly following and accepting some idiots personal vendetta against this Company, you are hurting yourselves. If you sue anyone, and lets face it you Cali's are sue happy, you should sue this guy that who's actions devalue your homes. Or you can all go crazy and I will return to SLO and buy one of your homes for cheap, I'll get a good buy.

 
At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RW Hertel has a vast number of LAWSUITS from Ventura to San Jose and in the Central Valley as well his poor reputation is well documented in official Court and City Planning Records all over he has had many judgments as well he apparently does NOT pay his debts, I have two co-workers who bought in Rancho Obispo and ARRBORS both projects have massive defects and leaks with MOLD and now i see both are suing RW Hertel et al the truth is well known and documented Hertel is a Lying cheating con man and liar not to mention a Crook.. Too much Gambling and Nose powder...

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PUBLIC documented records against this builder RW Hertel & Sons are well known in the Courts, Newspapers, TV News, Builders Associations, BBB, CSLB, City Inspector Offices, and all the poor decent people who got Scammed into buying one of his many lousy and defective homes from Ventura, San Jose, Ripon, San Luis Obispo and many more areas now he is building in Central Point Oregon but the officials are now checking into his criminal and fraudulent background so Buyer be Ware on any Hertel homes check first and hire a Mold and Defect inspector first

 
At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Mold Inspection said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator. Mold Inspection

 
At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Mold Inspection said...

They built some houses. The houses had leaks because the roofer messed up and noone caught it. they had an "anonymous" homeowner, who has been involved in numerous NATIONAL scandals. He turned his roof leaking into a state investigation! Sold his house. And now has nothing better to to than think up lies about these two men. He needs to get a life & his head examined. Mold Inspection

 
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